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Teal Swan Articles


Why It is Dangerous to Be Committed to Comfort

We want to feel good instead of bad. We have an aversion to pain and we gravitate towards pleasure. Because of this, we like comfort and we like to feel comfortable. But a shadow of this natural inclination is that we can get stuck in the comfort zone.
When we are committed to comfort, our aim is to avoid risk. Risk holds the potential for pain and the potential for unwanted. Because of this, risk is anxiety inducing. We don’t like anxiety, so we try to stay in a place of neutrality. I say neutrality because when we are committed to comfort, we get into a behavioral state where in the name of risk aversion, we make decisions and take actions that prevent both pain and pleasure. We aren’t really happy and we aren’t really unhappy. We’re just… comfortable enough to not make changes.
The comfort zone feels safe to us. But the reality is quite the opposite. In fact, being committed to comfort might just be one of the most dangerous things you can do in your life. And it is not only dangerous for you, it is dangerous for any being that is part of any system that you are a part of.
You did not come to this life to be comfortable and to avoid risk. You came here for the sake of your personal expansion and to play a role in the expansion of others. And your personal expansion, as well as theirs, is adding up to universal expansion. Something which the universe at large is completely committed to. When there is an end to expansion, there is an end to life. This expansion is facilitated by the contrast of unwanted and wanted, pain and pleasure. The experience of unwanted is meant to cause you to change towards what is wanted. And in a time-space reality where time is an element of that perceptual reality, we experience this as movement, growth, improvement and progress. Being committed to comfort, causes a plateau regarding expansion. It causes stuckness, where there is no change or movement. It causes stagnation. It causes decline and it causes worsening.
Because this state of anti-expansion is not in the best interests of you personally, not in the best interests of those beings (including people) that are around you and not in the best interests of the universe at large, the universe will act against it. This means that being committed to comfort and keeping yourself in the comfort zone means being out of alignment with the universe itself. It is a big invitation for the universe to seemingly move against anything that you are using to keep yourself comfortable and stuck.
So that you can understand how this works, I will give you a very harsh example.
Sarah and Damian were in a relationship for 15 years. Sarah was often unhappy with the relationship. But many of her needs were met by Damian. Being with him made her comfortable, especially because it was a relationship that kept her away from the anxiety of financial worry. Damien had no interest in changing anything about himself or their life. He controlled their relationship and their life so as to make sure that he was comfortable. This included avoiding doing any uncomfortable work on himself or on their relationship, like self-reflecting or counseling. Damien getting upset in any way, caused Sarah to go into anxiety and to seek her own personal comfort again. So, she avoided getting into discussions or arguments with Damien. She kept the house the way he wanted. She made excuses for Damien’s poor behavior around other people and simply avoided inviting over people who might upset him. She stayed focused on what did work in their relationship, their business of flipping houses. But flipping houses served as a distraction so that they could avoid dealing with what wasn’t working in their life. She kept him in the comfort zone, so that she could stay in hers. 
Because both of them were so committed to comfort, the things they were using to stay comfortable, began to be opposed. First, a book was put in Sarah’s path that challenged her ideas of relationships and led to an argument with Damien. But she stopped reading the book because that argument rocked the boat too much and threatened her own comfort. Then, one of Sarah’s relatives died. It caused her to think about her life, because it is temporary, and about what she wanted to change. But the thought of making a change, brought in the potential for risk and so, she fell back into everyday life the way things were. Then, Damien’s closest friend ended the friendship with him. Instead, of reflecting on himself and on relationships in general, he told himself “He was a terrible friend anyway if he could want to end the relationship, so I’m glad he’s gone”. After that, the little poodle dog that Sarah used as a substitute for the lack of intimacy she experienced with Damien died suddenly. But instead of face the lack of intimacy in the relationship, she just got another dog. Then, Damien had a small heart attack. Both of them were thrown out of the comfort zone and into anxiety when that happened. Damien was faced with his own mortality. Sarah was faced with losing the security that Damien provided. Sarah knew it happened because Damien lost his closest friend and was avoiding all self-reflection. And she knew they needed to make changes to their life together. But the opportunity for change that was opened up by that experience was only one that they engaged in for a week. After that, Damien simply got on heart medication and started telling Sarah that when she would bring up anything upsetting, she was contributing to the risk of him having another heart attack. So, she stopped completely. And the two of them threw themselves into investing in and flipping even more houses. Pretty soon, everything started to go wrong on their house flipping projects. I mean everything… up to the point that the purchase of three houses in a row fell through. But when nothing seemed to be going right, they simply took more vacations. And the vacations served as a new way to avoid the problems they needed to face and the discomfort that came with the ‘risk’ of making changes. This pattern kept going on until one year later, Damien died of a massive heart attack.
The reality is that both Sarah and Damien invited a universal escalation. The very decisions that they felt made them safer (because those decisions made them more comfortable) were in fact bringing about their ultimate unsafety. Instead of assisting each other’s expansion, they assisted each other’s stuckness. And this means that through her enabling behavior, which was done to mitigate her own anxiety, Sarah was in fact an accessory to Damien’s death as well as to the of her dog… the things she wanted most to avoid. Because Sarah was so committed to comfort, she was preventing her own expansion as well as the expansion of the beings who were part of her immediate system. And so, the universe began to force expansion by opposing any of those things that served to keep her stuck and plateaued.
Whenever you are committed to comfort and are using something as a tool to keep yourself away from risk to the degree that you are not in alignment with expansion, those things that are serving to keep you comfortable, will be targeted. You might as well paint a bullseye on them. This includes people that you are using to keep yourself in the comfort zone; that due to things you are doing or they are doing, are out of alignment with their own expansion. When these things are targeted, the aim is to cause a change that will put you back into alignment with your expansion path. Using our previous example, that meant: The introduction of a book that would shake up stagnation in the marriage, the death of a relative, a friendship loss, the death of a dog, a pre-emptive warning heart attack, the prevention of their house flipping projects, and then Damien’s death.
When this happens, you are going to feel like the universe is against you. You might even feel like it is against the people and things around you. But from a higher perspective, because you want comfort and are committed to comfort, the things you think are in your best interests, are actually against them. And the things you think are in the best interests of the people and things around you, are actually against them. From a higher perspective, the universe is messing with the cozy jail bars you have built and they have built that are limiting you and everything else around you. It is orchestrating a full system liberation. But as we all know, if we don’t change and expand in response to smaller stimulus, we may only change and expand as the result of a “whack a tree at 70 miles an hour” experience.
It is tempting to think that the presence of fear and discomfort means that you should avoid something. It’s tempting to think that the presence of risk means that you shouldn’t do something. But discomfort, fear and risk often doesn’t mean that. And in order to continue to expand, assist in the expansion of others, find happiness and stay in alignment with the universe, you’re going to have to lean into discomfort as well as take risks. If you don’t, you might just be inviting the scariest experiences of all and taking the greatest risk of all, without even knowing it. It’s tempting to feel safe and in control when you are committed to comfort. You may feel like life is smooth sailing in the comfort zone. When in fact, those calm waters are taking you straight towards the biggest storm.

What Will Happen If You Don’t Accept Incompatibility

Attraction and love are both completely irreverent when it comes to compatibility. This might just be one of the great injustices of life. When we really want to be in a specific relationship with someone, we imagine that no matter how different we are, that where there is a will there is a way. We imagine that if we want it badly enough and if they do too, that mutual desire and mutual commitment and mutual love will allow us to triumph over all. Most people just don’t want to accept the reality of incompatibility. After all, it is a less than romantic concept. But refusing to accept incompatibility will lead you straight down the road to relationship hell. And this is how:
Incompatibility in a relationship is not about being different. Many differences are workable and can be easily accommodated in a relationship. In fact, many differences make people in a relationship even more compatible. Incompatibility is the condition of two things being different in a way that is specifically uncomplimentary to the degree that the specific difference makes them incapable of coexisting harmoniously. Incompatibility is really about putting people with these non-harmonious differences in roles or positions with each other that require there to be either no difference or that require a difference that is non harmonious in nature to be harmonious. If you want to learn more about this in depth, I would encourage you to watch my video titled: Incompatibility, A Harsh Reality in Relationships.
Still, our desire to be able to find a way with someone, despite being incompatible to them, often causes us to refuse to accept the incompatibility. We don’t see that in refusing to accept the incompatibility and make adjustments accordingly, we are dooming the very relationship that we care so much about.
When genuine incompatibility is an element of a relationship, you can’t be happy with the other person being the way they are and chances are, they can’t be happy with you being the way that you are. So, you need either them or you (or both) to change so that you can be happy together. When you will not accept incompatibility in a relationship, you will not swallow the reality of the difference. Instead, you have to find a different way of explaining the uncomplimentary difference away. And then you must throw your energy into trying to change it.
An overwhelming majority of the time, this will lead a person to do one of two things:
Make the other person wrong or bad for their difference (personal feeling, thoughts, needs, desires, boundaries etc). And demand for them to change. And try to convince them that it is in THEIR best interests to do so. When that is really a disguise for the fact that you think it is in your best interests for them to change, so that you can be in a certain desired arrangement with them. Make yourself wrong or bad for your difference (personal feeling, thoughts, needs, desires, boundaries etc). And set about trying to change yourself. And try to convince yourself that it is in your best interests to do so; so that you can be in a certain desired arrangement with them. Sometimes, if we are especially desperate to keep a relationship together, we will try out both approaches. But when two people do this, what ends up happening is that both people in the relationship end up feeling pain; not only because of the uncomplimentary nature of the dynamic itself (and the conflict that arises as a result of it) but also because they end up feeling like crap about themselves. When we send someone else the message that they need to change something about themselves, they feel bad and wrong and thus they feel shame. When we send ourselves the message that we need to change something about ourselves, we feel bad and wrong and thus we feel shame. Refusing to accept incompatibility in a relationship is a recipe for a relationship where the experience of love goes away and is replaced by mutual shame.
So that you can understand how this dynamic plays out, I’ll give you an example.
Ria met Danny at a film festival two years ago. And it was love at first sight. They spent six days in the absolute magic of each other. They knew they had found ‘the one’. Even though Ria lived in Los Angeles and Danny lived in New York, they decided to commit to an exclusive relationship before they went home. For the past two years, they have been in a long-distance relationship.
Over time, the magic of their relationship has been fading. Their relationship has been getting more and more painful. Ria is ready to settle down and start a family. She wants to get married to Danny. She wants Danny to move to Los Angeles because she wants to be in California. She has even lined up jobs for him to take there. Danny keeps dragging his feet. Every time he considers moving to LA to be with her, he takes on a film project that prevents it. Danny is now talking to a therapist because he can’t help but notice his own pattern of avoidance and procrastination.
The truth is, Danny does not want to settle down. He wants to be on the road at least 280 days out of the year. When he is at home too long, he starts to feel depressed and stuck and empty. When Ria catches glimpses of this incompatibility between him and her, she will not accept it. She tells herself and Danny that the only reason Danny feels this way is because Danny’s Dad was always gone on the road when Danny was a kid. She believes that Danny would have to face the pain he has in the relationship with his own father and stop idolizing him and then, he would actually want to settle down.
Danny doubts himself sometimes. Sometimes he believes that he is unhealthy and that he does have to change. After all, he’s never going to be able to have kids if he isn’t willing to settle down. But he never does prioritize changing this about himself. He just feels like crap about himself and yet continues to prioritize other things. When he is talking to Ria, he vacillates between agreeing with her that he is messed up and needs to change and that she just needs to back off and stop pressuring him because he isn’t ready yet.
Ria and Danny are in a stalemate. Neither of them know if or when the relationship will end or progress. When they get in fights, which happens more and more now, Ria screams that Danny is taking the best years of her life and is keeping her on the hook and is a narcissist. Danny yells that Ria is needy and basic. Both of them will not accept the incompatibility between them. As a result, each spends their time trying to convince the other that what they want is bad and wrong. They each spend their time trying to get the other to change. And as a result, they both feel like crap about themselves. Their refusal to accept incompatibility makes Danny feel like he is a dysfunctional, self-centered ass hole. And it makes Ria feel like an insecure and needy harpy.
If they were to look their incompatibility straight in the face, it is that Ria wants to settle down, marry and have kids. Danny wants to be on the road 280 days out of the year and does not want to settle down and doesn’t want to have kids yet. If they accepted that reality, each of them would have to be honest with themselves about what that means for them and make decisions about what the highest and best arrangement would be for their relationship, without compromising.
The second faulty move that people make when they see incompatibility, but don’t accept it, is that they try to find a compromise. If you want a relationship that feels good, compromise is to be intentionally avoided. If you want to learn more about this, watch my video titled: Why You Should Never Make Compromises in a Relationship.
When Ria faces reality, she sees that she can’t just wait for Danny to be ready. She doesn’t even have the biological time to do so if she wants kids. So, she decides that the best thing for her to do, is to get off of the hook of waiting for Danny and to make him a friend instead of a partner.
When Danny faces reality, he sees that he just isn’t going to prioritize changing his current career path and how often it has him on the road. Even if he moves to Los Angeles, he will be gone most of the time. And even though he wishes things were different, he sees that keeping Ria on the hook isn’t loving. And constantly feeling like he is disappointing a woman makes him feel chronically bad about himself. So, he decides that after a two-month break from contact, he wants to make Ria a friend rather than a partner.
There is a big difference between loving something and being compatible with something. It is completely understandable that we would not want to admit to incompatibility and/or accept it because there are consequences for incompatibility. We don’t want to face those consequences. But this might cause us to be inauthentic and dishonest. It might also cause us to mislead the other person. And neither is something that we can keep up for long.
Nowhere is the refusal to accept incompatibility more prevalent than in social circles that are self-help/self-development oriented. So many personal desires and personal needs and personal preferences and personal feelings and thoughts and behaviors come from trauma. And people in these circles tend to have this idea that if anything comes from trauma, it not only can change, it should change in order for someone to be healthy. So, I see SOOO many people in these circles trying to heal each other into compatibility. This is just yet another refusal to accept incompatibility. Not only that, it is an attempt to justify that refusal. Because this so often happens with desires, it would benefit you to watch my video titled: You Can’t Heal Yourself Out of A Desire!
When we try to make an incompatible person, compatible with us, we usually do so by making them wrong or bad for their difference. We come up with a reason why they are wrong for it and try to then heal them out of that difference or try to change it so that it doesn’t exist. This creates shame in them. And in turn, they will most likely make us bad and wrong for our difference and come up with a reason why we are wrong for it and try to then heal us out of our difference or try to change it so that it doesn’t exist. After a while, the emotional condition of the relationship itself is shame and resentment towards each other. And after a while, both of us in the relationship feel totally unloved.
It may not feel good in the short term, but accepting incompatibilities, especially when it comes to desires, is an essential element of creating a feel-good relationship; rather than a relationship based on mutual shame.

Signs and Synchronicities Aren’t Always Leading You to Something That Feels Good

One of the most confusing things to people who are aware of universal signs and synchronicities is that sometimes, when there are signs and synchronicities everywhere, following them leads you into a situation that doesn’t feel like a good thing… A situation where you’re standing there going “Wait a minute… I thought this was supposed to be a good thing, there were so many signs”. There is a bigger picture reason for this.
The universe is primarily concerned with your expansion. One of the main reasons that we can perceive time in this time-space reality is so that we can actually perceive progress. Progress and expansion is ultimately completely in alignment with your best interests. Afterall, expansion closes the gap between where you are and what you really want. But whether something is ultimately right and good for you and whether it feels right and good are sometimes two very separate things. This is why you might experience your emotional guidance system leading you to something painful instead of pleasurable. If you want to learn more about this in-depth, watch my video titled: How Your Inner Compass Leads You to Both Pleasure and Pain.
Experiences that are difficult and that hurt are not without value. We usually only see that they were necessary and see their value years later and in retrospect, once we have actually lived into the awareness of the actual necessity and actual value inherent in the experience.
So that you can understand this concept, I’ll give you an example. Liz had a childhood where she was largely ignored by both of her parents. She was in so much pain that she took to pretend as her way of mitigating her pain. She imagined that she was really a princess who was smuggled out of the castle to be raised among the commoners for her own safety, but that one day, a prince would come and rescue her away from these people and restore her to her rightful place on the throne. Because Liz used this strategy of pretend to survive her childhood, she never stopped being in this reality. It wasn’t a ‘game’ to her. 
As Liz got older, she kept using this coping mechanism of pretend. She especially used it in relationships. She imagined that she could be in a relationship with any man. In truth, this is because she wasn’t really with any of the men she got into relationships with. Each man was just a person playing the part of the prince that she still had in her own head. Liz was always in a relationship. She spent no time trying to get to know who a man actually was before jumping into a relationship with him. She would idolize him and imagine him to be totally different than he actually was. She would obsess over him and obsessively seek his comfort until he didn’t match the character she had in her head. And then, he would experience a fall from grace. She would end up in a violent breakup with him and then end up with a different man the next day. She bounced from man to man like a hot potato. Liz’s psychologist told her that she had love addiction. Liz struggled with overlays as a coping mechanism in her life. To understand what overlays are in depth, you can watch my video titled: Overlay (What Prevents You from Having a Real Relationship). These overlays were ruining Liz’s life and they were holding her apart from what she really wanted. 
When Liz met Jeff, she was shocked at all of the signs and synchronicities. Jeff had the same birthday as her first love in high school. Every time they met up, there were ravens nearby. At least 10 times in the first week she was entertaining the idea of being with him, she would see 11:11 and 4:44 on the clock. Her mother had always said she thought Liz should be with a man from Australia. Jeff was from Australia. Both of them shared the same favorite color. They realized that they had been backpacking through Europe at the exact same time a few years earlier. It was like the universe had always been trying to bring them together. Liz knew how to interpret those signs. This was the guy she was always meant to find… Her soul mate. 
Problem is, Liz was in an overlay about Jeff. She was using her interpretation of those signs to slip even deeper into an overlay and miss every red flag about Jeff. Here are the red flags that she missed: Jeff had kids in Australia, but he lived in a different country from them. Jeff seemed to already know everything about Liz. Jeff loved breaking rules everywhere they went. Jeff was in a lawsuit when they met. Jeff would laugh when they would pass by road kill and explain it away as being so emotionally uncomfortable for him that he would just start laughing. Jeff would often lie and manipulate to get what he wanted, even in little interactions, like when they were at the grocery store and he pretended to be blind so that he could sit in a handicap only chair. 
To make a long story short, Jeff was afflicted with psychopathy. Custody of his children was taken away from Jeff when he tried to kidnap them both and punish their mother by taking them to the other side of the country. Jeff had several issues with the Law in Australia. Jeff had chosen Liz as his new target. He had researched her and learned everything about her so that he could love bomb her. And once Liz committed to Jeff, he ruined her life. He separated Liz and isolated her from every other person in her life. He was so emotionally abusive, that Liz developed an eating disorder. He came up with excuses as to why she had to help him with money and eventually gained access to her financial accounts and drained them. He lacked empathy completely. And at the end of the relationship, they got into a fight and he set fire to her house, with her cat inside of it. 
Liz didn’t understand why all those signs and synchronicities were pointing her towards Jeff, the man who “ruined her life”. Well… this is the reason why: From an objective perspective, Jeff was the man who, because he was so horrible, demolished Liz’s coping mechanism. Liz could no longer be in an overlay about men. It was too dangerous to not see every red flag about a person from the get go. The consequence was so high this time, he effectively broke her love addiction. Without that, Liz would not have ever snapped out of her cycle in relationships enough to actually be able to recognize red flags and assess compatibility in relationships. Consequently, she is now in a healthy relationship with a man who is compatible to her. And Liz has the ability to discern.
When signs and synchronicities pop up, it always means the universe is indicating to you that there is something important and also valuable for you inherent in the situation. Therefore, one could argue that they are leading you closer to what you want and ultimately closer to your happiness. But when you interpret those signs to mean that the universe is confirming that something will feel good, that is a big mistake. It might… it also might not. Afterall, the road to get us to what we really need can be a very dark road. And often, the road we least expect.

Do You Need It to Be Safe In Order to Be Honest?

People are wired to avoid pain. We go to great lengths to stay safe and to avoid consequences. Unfortunately, this aversion to negative consequences also extends to our relationship with honesty. We can talk about the importance of making human society a place that is more conducive to honesty. But that is a separate talk from the one we need to have today. We need to have a talk about choosing to be honest, even when there are social consequences, rather than powerlessly waiting for society to make it ok to be honest first.
Also, for this conversation we are going to have, it makes no sense to get into a discussion around the morality of honesty in general because there are very real situations in which you could argue that morally, not being truthful is a better choice… Just think about the people who were harboring Jews in WW2 deciding that it is best to tell the Nazis that they were in fact hiding Jews just because telling the truth is more moral.
While every one of us will find ourselves not being honest in one situation or another over the course of our lives (because we will perceive the consequence to be too high), the sad reality is that some people will not be honest if they perceive there to be any negative consequence for their truth. If you are one of these people, your life ends up devolving into a game of strategy rather than authenticity. Rather than speaking and acting in alignment with your own truth, you will strategically speak and act in order to avoid negative consequences and in order to get whatever reaction you want from others; regardless of whether that causes you to be out of alignment with your own truth. You will have become a strategic person instead of an honest person.
If you are someone who will not be honest if you perceive there to be any negative consequence for your truth, chances are high that you make other people responsible for making it safe for you to share your truth; before you are willing to share it. Essentially, you are conditional with your truth. Sharing your truth is conditional upon other people making it so that there are no consequences for you sharing your truth. There are big problems with this. Problems that will not serve you in the long run, never mind other people. In order to live a life worth living, you’re going to have to change your relationship to honesty and also to consequences.
The first problem with only being willing to be honest if there are no negative consequences for your honesty is that it defies universal law. This is a universe based on the law of mirroring and the law of cause and effect. Literally everything has a reflection and a consequence. This includes honesty. The reason that there is less of a consequence for your honesty with certain people is down to a whole host of factors. For example, for the most part, there are no consequences for being honest to a therapist. Of course, if you walk into a therapist’s office and are honest that you killed someone, suddenly there is a consequence; because as mandatory reporters, they will be reporting you to the police. But, let’s say that you are a man who has been married to a woman for 12 years and you go into a therapist’s office and tell the therapist that you are gay. There will be no negative consequence for that because the fact that you are gay does not change anything for the therapist. That truth does not negatively impact the therapist. The therapist can validate that truth for you and accept it and put you more at peace with your truth. However, if you tell the woman that you have been married to for 12 years that you are gay, it is cruel for you to expect her to make it safe for you to share that truth by making sure there are no consequences. For example, by making the sharing of that truth of yours conditional upon her not getting angry or not asking you for a divorce.
You may imagine that it is possible to think, say or do something which will enable you to avoid consequences. But this is not actually possible. The reality is that everything you do has a consequence. And everything you do not do has a consequence. When we are someone who is only willing to be honest if there are no negative consequences for our honesty, we are often acutely aware of the consequences of being honest. However, we are ignorant to the consequences of not being honest. But guess what? There are always consequences for both. For example, there are big negative consequences for the man in our example never being honest that he is gay as well.
So often people who have this conditional relationship with honesty will say “I was just being honest” when they encounter a negative reaction or a negative consequence for whatever they said… As if the fact that they were honest should in and of itself make it so that the other person is wrong to have a negative reaction to their truth. Or as if it should make it so they are exempt from there being a negative effect in response to their honesty. In order to work yourself out of this pattern, you should think about the fact that you could not grant someone else this amnesty.
Imagine that you were married and your spouse was suddenly honest one day that he or she was in love with someone else. You would still have a negative reaction. They would still feel guilty. And you would probably not want to have sex with him or her and you would end up feeling more distant and distrustful and going to marriage counseling, if not sleeping in different rooms or divorced. If they said “What… I was just being honest”, as if to make you wrong for having a negative reaction, and wrong for there being negative consequences for sharing that truth, that would be cruelty. If they needed the condition of no reaction and no consequences in order to be able to share that truth with you, you absolutely could not make them safe enough to be able to share that truth of theirs.
Another example is this: Imagine that you own a business and your employee is stealing trade secrets in order to build their own business that will compete with yours; because his or her honest truth is that you are a bad person and someone who is a better person deserves to take over the market. Now imagine that this employee needs you to have no reaction and needs there to be no negative consequence in order to be honest with you about this. You cannot give that to them. There is no way you will be emotionally fine with this truth. And there is no way that you can employ them anymore when you are faced with this truth.
You are a person who is trapped and disempowered if you will only be honest if other people make there be no consequences for that honesty; and if you are unwilling to take the responsibility for the consequences of your honesty. In order to get out of that trap and to be at the cause instead of at the effect of your life, you’re going to have to get seriously conscious about the consequences of being honest and the consequences of not being honest in any given situation. You’re going to have to play them out over time. And rather than expecting those consequences to not be there, consciously choose your consequences.  If you want to learn more about how this bravery leads you to a much more empowered life, you can watch my video titled: Why You Should Consciously Choose Consequences.
One of these consequences for not being honest unless people can ensure that there will be no consequences for that honesty, is that you are deciding to be separate from other people and alone. A relationship is only real when you are in a relationship with the reality of someone. When you are not honest, they are in a relationship with an illusion. You are creating an overlay for the other person to be in a relationship with. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Overlay (What Prevents You from Having a Real Relationship). You are also making sure that there is distance between you and the other person. There is only intimacy when you see, hear, feel and know the other person. Vibrationally speaking, it may be interesting for you to know that even when there are distancing consequences for someone’s truth (such as a break up), even then the two people are in fact closer to each other than they were when they were together but separated by a lie or by an omission.
Another of these consequences that you will experience for not being honest unless people can ensure that there will be no consequences for that honesty, is all the pain that comes with codependency. Codependency is not a personality disorder. It is a relationship strategy. But it is a relationship strategy that will lead you straight to a living hell. You will conform to whatever other people want and forfeit your selfhood in exchange for getting only some of your needs met and feeling only kind of safer. Your entire life will be a compromise. And as if not being able to live the life you really want isn’t bad enough, you will be constantly reinforcing a self-concept of shame. You will perpetuate your own enmeshment trauma over the course of your adult life. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: How to Heal Family Enmeshment Trauma.
Another of these consequences that you will experience for not being honest unless people can ensure that there will be no consequences for that honesty is that there is no way to build actual trust in your relationships. The dishonesty itself takes trust off of the table for both you and them. But trust is quite literally the holy grail of relationships. This means all of your relationships will be insecure and unsafe. To learn more about this, watch my video titled: Trust (What Is Trust and How To Build Trust in Relationships).
Another of these consequences that you will experience for not being honest unless people can ensure that there will be no consequences for that honesty is that your relationships will be exhausting and unfulfilling. When you are being strategic in your relationships, you are effectively playing a chess game 24-7. It is a very stressful existence. You will find this painful and need to withdraw and spend a great deal of time alone. Being inauthentic takes energy and effort and it doesn’t feel good. And you will be unable to keep it up long term. No one can. And when the truth does come out, other people will lose respect for you. There is a freedom with honesty. There is an energy with honesty. Dishonesty makes relationships depleting, difficult and painful to try to maintain.
Another of these consequences that you will experience for not being honest unless people can ensure that there will be no consequences for that honesty is that you will end up losing touch with your personal truth. When we suppress, deny, disown, don’t acknowledge, speak the opposite and act the opposite of our truth, we have the tendency to lose track of what our personal truth even is. We have to start pretending, lying, omitting, deceiving, misleading and being inauthentic to ourselves. We become lost as a result. We become very confused. We can’t make the right decisions for our own life. And we become very susceptible to just going along with others and adopting their truth as if it were our own. We also become susceptible to being manipulated by others. All of this means that personal happiness is out of our reach. It also corrodes your mental, emotional and even physical health.
Another of these consequences that you will experience for not being honest unless people can ensure that there will be no consequences for that honesty is that you will never actually find people or places or things that you are actually compatible to. You are dooming yourself to a life of incompatibility. You will of course have to justify this by telling yourself that compromise and accommodation is right and good. You will have to minimize the importance of compatibility. But dooming yourself to a life of incompatibility is a recipe for constant conflict with others and constant pain and constant sacrifice and constant shame. To learn more about this, watch my video titled: Incompatibility (A Harsh Reality in Relationships).
Another of these consequences that you will experience for not being honest unless people can ensure that there will be no consequences for that honesty is that you are perpetuating a dishonest world. Deceit is contagious. We can consider ourselves to be part of the problem if we speak and act in a way that normalizes dishonesty and inauthenticity. When we act in our own best interests to the point of pretense, lying, omitting, deceiving, misleading and being inauthentic, we help to establish this as the norm for our society. And we are then part of creating the very thing that is in fact causing us so much pain.
If you are someone who struggles to be honest unless people can ensure that there will be no consequences for that honesty, you may be tempted to justify, rationalize and come up with excuses for your deceptive behavior. You must know that you will always be able to come up with an excuse for it. You will always be able to justify it. You will always be able to re-frame and rationalize it. The question is: Where does the justifying and rationalizing get you?
There is always a why behind dishonesty. Knowing this why behind dishonesty can help you to predict the consequences of that dishonesty. Not being honest has its benefits, otherwise people wouldn’t do it. Telling the truth has negative consequences, otherwise people wouldn’t lie. If you want wellbeing in your life and if you want real relationships, you need to consciously choose your consequences rather than expecting other people to make those consequences ‘not to be there’. This means, even though all of us would rather it be perfectly safe in order for us to be honest, if you want a life worth living, your truth and your honesty cannot always be conditional upon safety.

The ‘No Matter What’ Pattern in Relationships

Most of us in the world today have felt the pain of experiencing some kind of conditional love. This begins with the process of socialization in childhood. We learn very early that if we are certain things or if we do certain things, we will either be approved of or rejected. We learn that the things we want so dearly, things like acceptance, inclusion, being wanted, being valued, appreciation, having our needs met and being loved are conditional. 
If we were traumatized by this conditionality in some way, it gives rise to a strong desire for unconditionality. We want to be accepted, included, wanted, valued, appreciated, have our needs met and be loved no matter what we do or don’t do. No matter who we are or aren’t. No matter what happens or doesn’t happen. And no matter how we stay the same or change. 
To heal is to experience the opposite. This means that people who have suffered as a result of certain aspects of themselves not being accepted, included, wanted, valued, appreciated or loved, heal by experiencing those things being accepted, included, wanted, valued, appreciated and loved. But people with this kind of trauma sometimes swing the pendulum from conditionality all the way to unconditionality. And with any pendulum swing, there is dysfunction at both ends of the spectrum. If we begin to demand unconditionality, we open the door wide for this dysfunction.
For example, we may try to create relationships where our expectation is that there is no pressure on us, including no expectations imposed on us by the other person. Or we may get into relationships with people who are incompatible to us, and try to get the other person who (due to their incompatibility) is guaranteed to not want something about us, to change their mind and want it instead. Or we may try to create relationships where we expect the other person to continue to appreciate us and feel good towards us, no matter what we do or don’t do. Or we may try to create relationships where we expect the other person to give up their best interests for us. Or we may even fall into the pattern of expecting other people to suffer so that we can feel loved. The expectation of unconditionality can lead you down a very, very dark road in relationships. To understand this in a more in-depth way, watch my videos titled: The Truth and The Myth of Unconditional Love and The ‘Suffer So I Can Feel Loved’ Relationship Dynamic. 
We can sum up the desire to be accepted, included, wanted, valued, appreciated, have our needs met and be loved no matter what we do or don’t do, by calling this: the desire to be loved no matter what. What we mean when we say “I want to be loved no matter what” is: “I want to be wanted no matter what”. But the big question here is: What is the ‘me’ that I need people to want? Or what about me do I need someone to want? And this is the question we need to ask ourselves if we hope to heal from the trauma of conditionality. The answer to this question will reveal to you what part of you was rejected, not accepted, dis-included, pushed away, unwanted, not valued, disapproved of, unloved and its needs not met. From there, you can consciously go about integrating and bringing about healing for that aspect of you. 
So that you can understand how this goes, I’ll give you a couple of examples. 
Beau grew up in a very large family that lived on a working farm. The children in the house were quite literally conceived so that they could help out on the farm. Beau always felt like it wasn’t what he was that had any value, it was what he did. Now, in his adult life, he often feels like women are only interested in him because of what he does for them. And that if he stopped doing those things, they would leave. This often causes Beau to bait and switch women. He enters a relationship doing everything for them. He fixes anything in their house that needs fixing. He takes care of anything they need done. He spends the initial part of the relationship being completely active and in service to her needs, even before she has to ask. But then, once the relationship starts to feel secure, Beau starts to feel insecure. He suddenly starts to worry that the only reason she loves him is because of what he does for her. The pain of his childhood then comes up. And he begins to test the woman. He stops doing something that he usually does for her. When she reacts negatively to him doing that, his fears are confirmed that she only loves him for what he does for her. And then, he goes into full on protest mode. He stops being active. He stops doing things for the woman. Inevitably, after months of conflict, they leave him feeling duped and he feels abandoned and unloved and like all women are just users. In reality, women decide to be in a relationship with Beau specifically because he is such an active man. He immediately contains a woman and responds to her needs. It’s not just what he does, it is who they think he is. This is the man they signed up for. But when Beau suddenly stops doing this, they feel duped. The man he is now being is not the man they signed up for.
When Beau is asked the question: What is it about you that you need other people to want? His answer is: “Me the way I am.” But who is Beau the way Beau is? Is Beau what he does? It he his talents? Is he his weaknesses? Is he what he wants?  Is he how he behaves?  Is he how he feels?  I he what he thinks?  Is he what he says?   Is he his actions?  Is he his needs? Is he only one of these things, or all of them? What is it about who he is that he needs other people to want? When Beau thinks hard about this, he realizes that what he really wants is for a woman to love his company. When he thinks about giving a woman company, he realizes that the image he has in mind is them doing a lot of joint leisure activities together and talking. He wants to be valued for his company doing leisure activities together and for his insights. This is the real pain. His parents did not value his company. They did not do any leisure activities together and they didn’t care about his insights at all.
Seeing this, Beau was able to see that the way he enters into relationships is false advertising. He goes into relationships setting up a relationship dynamic that he doesn’t want. As a result, he realizes that in order to find compatible women, the ones who will want what he needs them to want, he has to be different from the get go. Now, Beau behaves in a way that indicates to women that he loves leisure time and quality time. He engages in deep conversation with a woman rather than fixing her kitchen sink. He invites women to leisure activities, like watching a movie, rather than offering to help her in some way. Beau has now been in a three-year relationship with a woman who loves his company. They share many common interests and enjoy a lot of leisure time. Both of them value having quality time together the most in their relationship. And because of it, Beau feels more loved than he ever has before. Charlotte grew up in a culture that expects women to “keep sweet”. Whenever Charlotte was anything but sweet, she was immediately reprimanded. Charlotte had to suppress her negative emotions in a big way, especially anger. But she could not make it go away. As a result, charlotte has spent the better part of her life feeling like something is seriously bad about her and wrong with her because she can’t just feel good and be positive no matter the circumstances; like the other women she knows seem able to do. She keeps ending up in relationships with people who have a problem with her expressing any negativity.
When Charlotte is asked the question: What is the ‘you’ that you need other people to want? Or what is it about you that you need other people to want? Charlotte realizes it is the real truth of how she feels in any given moment that she needs other people to want. Charlotte decides that she is still in resistance to her own emotional truth. So, she decides to do parts work with the part of her that knows and can express the truth of how she feels. And the part of her that is against her knowing and expressing the truth of how she feels. As a result of that parts work, she was able to get both parts on board with always letting her conscious mind know how she feels and expressing the truth of how she feels in way that is still considerate of the other person’s feelings. In order to find people who would want the truth of how she feels, Charlotte signed up for an acting class that promised to help aspiring actors to tap into their own emotional depth. In that class, she made friends with Jane. Charlotte and Jane are now roommates. Charlotte feels safe with Jane because Jane always tells Charlotte exactly how she feels. There is never any guess work. And Jane encourages Charlotte to get mad and to cry, and to tell the unsavory truth. As a result, Charlotte’s relationship with her own personal truth is healing. She is becoming a much more authentic person. And she feels more lovable. It is important to beware that when we first get into relationships, we often do so by hiding the parts of ourselves that got us rejected before. But this means we are selling someone on something that isn’t the full truth of us. It is guaranteed that sooner or later, we will either bring out or switch into the part of us that we were hiding. And the other person will feel duped by us.
The ‘what’ in the no matter what relationships we are seeking, is actually a very specific what. It is a specific thing, or multiple specific things that we need someone to want and value. By figuring out what that specific thing is, we can improve our own relationship with that thing and then we can go about finding conscious and direct ways for that thing to be accepted, included, wanted, valued, appreciated and loved.
When we do this, we need to be conscious of going to the right people and places. Places where this need can actually get met. For example, if Charlotte’s need was for her emotional truth to be wanted, she would have to go to places and seek out and develop relationships with people who valued emotional truth. If she walked into her parent’s southern county club wanting to be loved for her emotional truth, it wouldn’t go well. She would be re-traumatized. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Value Realization (A Realization That Can Completely Change your Self Worth).
 We shouldn’t be seeking to be loved or wanted no matter what… not in the way we mean it when we say it. We should be seeking compatible relationships. To understand more about this in-depth you can watch my video titled: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality in Relationships. And part of this compatibility is about becoming aware of specifically what it is about us that we want to have be wanted. And finding people who do want that. People who can accept, include, value, appreciate and love that.

The Great Dupe Of Dating

The process of socialization teaches us what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, what will result in approval and what will result in rejection. And it isn’t an exact recipe because the specifics are variable depending on the specific social group (such as culture and family) that you are interacting with.
When we are children, this process of socialization lays the foundation for our social interactions as adults. It is a profoundly painful experience for us all because we learn what about us is bad, wrong, unacceptable, unwanted and unlovable. And in order to stay safe in our social group and get our needs met, we must alienate ourselves from those aspects of ourselves. To the opposite, we must identify with and put forward whatever about us is seen as right, good, acceptable, desired and lovable.
By the time we reach an age where we are ready to date, we have been set up to be inauthentic. We spend our time trying to employ a strategy for how to get someone we want, rather than spending our time advertising who we genuinely are so that a person who would value us can actually recognize us. And most of all, we have been set up to dupe anyone that we date. And this is how…
When we go on a date with someone or are starting a relationship with someone, we want them to approve of us and to want us. That is our goal. And we have learned based off of our childhood and early life experience what it is that will guarantee that we will be approved of and wanted by others; and conversely what will cause them to reject and not want us. We walk into a relationship with a template already in our heads about how to have a relationship with someone that will guarantee that they will want us. And so, that is the foot that we put forward. But just because we have entered into a relationship on that pre-conditioned note, doesn’t mean that we are showing them all of who we are. It doesn’t mean we are accurately representing our truth. And it doesn’t mean that the relationship we are setting up is the one we actually want. Because of this, we can’t maintain the ‘self’ we presented when we were first dating someone. Because of this, we are prone to changing the truth of who we are and what we want. And when we do this, we have effectively and unintentionally carried out a ‘bait and switch’. We have duped the person we are dating.
I’ll give you two examples so that you can understand this epidemic that is occurring in the dating scene.
Brian’s dad left the family when he was two years old. His mother distrusted men from that day forward. So much so, that she refused to get into an adult relationship with a man ever again. Instead, she made Brian her surrogate husband. And he grew up in that atmosphere of emotional incest. Brian had to take care of his mother and also of his three younger sisters (as if he was their father) until he was 19 years old.
Brian’s childhood experience taught him that in order to be wanted by a woman, the right recipe is to find a woman who is struggling and to become the man who does everything for her. Be the man who is uber responsible. Be the man who does the chores without ever having to ask. Be the man to take that missing father role in her child’s life (he only ever dates single mothers). Be the man who plans and leads and manages her, so that she feels like she is being carried through life. Be the man who fixes all the problems in her life.
And his recipe works! The women who ‘go for’ this behavior during the dating phase are the women who want that specific thing from a man. The thing is, this is how Brian knows how to be in a relationship and this is what Brian knows will make women want him. It’s a strategy. It’s not necessarily the full reality of Brian and of what Brian really wants in a relationship.
Brian’s life experience has traumatized him. The truth is, he has always needed and wanted support. He has always wanted someone to make their life about him and to support his goals, rather than making his entire life about them and their goals. He has always wanted to be genuinely mothered. To be told what to do. To be cooked for. To be nurtured. To be encouraged etc. This causes Brian to enter into relationships as one man but to turn into a different man. When he starts to feel unfulfilled in the relationship with a woman, which will inevitably happen, he begins to subconsciously change. Suddenly, Brian chronically starts forgetting things. He needs to be managed and told what to do in order to get things right. Whenever she is feeding her child, he asks for her to make some extra for him. He leaves chores un-done and he sleeps in. He starts prioritizing the goals that he has and gets the woman he is with to put her energy into his goals. He passive aggressively makes sure that she will pick up every ball there is to pick up. Pretty soon she realizes that instead of having been rescued by a real man, she now has an additional grown-up child to take care of. She’s not just on her own again, she has an extra person to take care of too.
Every woman is duped in the dating phase by Brian because he enters into the dating phase as a totally different man than is the reality of Brian and what Brian really wants. And as a result of it, he gets rejected over and over again.
    Stacy, like so many women in society has definitely learned that the most valuable thing that a woman can be is beautiful. She knows that for a man to really want her, she needs to look good. She needs to be fit, wear sexy clothes, put on makeup and since guys like sex, she needs to put out. When Stacy is single, she goes to great lengths to be and do all of these things. And men are definitely responsive to her.
But Stacy doesn’t really like sex. In fact, she’s never orgasmed with a guy. Sex for Stacy is about guaranteeing that a man will want to commit to her instead of to another woman. Stacy doesn’t want a guy to want her for what she looks like. She wants a guy to want her for her personality and for how good of a person and partner she is. Because of this, the most common complaint that men give once they are past the dating phase and into a committed relationship with Stacy is that she lets herself go. And gradually, Stacy’s partner is in a relationship with a woman who is gaining weight, who has a terrible diet, who wears sweatpants every day, who never puts on makeup and who is never interested in sex. And Stacy is furious. Every man she ends up with is just like the last, shallow assholes who only care about sex and having a trophy, not a real relationship and not love.
Every man is duped in the dating phase by Stacy because she enters into the dating phase as a different woman, with different values than the real Stacy. She advertises herself to be one way and is really the opposite way. Even though we have the tendency to dupe each other during the dating phase, we tend to get surprised and hurt when we change who we are and what we want, but that “more authentic” version of ourselves is met with fury and rejection. We definitely would not be surprised or upset if someone was pissed and rejected a product that we advertised as one thing, when really it was another. The reason we get upset when we do the exact same thing, but with the way we advertise ourselves is because what we all desperately want is unconditional love. We want someone to love us no matter what. And often, when we’ve already secured someone and they have committed to us, that relationship security makes us feel safe enough to show the other person more of us, especially the things we were keeping from them in the dating phase. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The ‘No Matter What’ Pattern In Relationships.
This tendency we have to unintentionally dupe people in the dating phase of a relationship, is a set up for rejection. Afterall, we can’t expect that if a person said yes to being with who we were when we were dating them, that they will say yes when we suddenly become something totally different.
Most of us only know one way of being in a relationship. Most of us know only one way of being wanted. It is usually whatever strategy worked with our parents and in our culture of origin. And so, we do that!  But, if this is not the full truth of who we are or of what we want, we will flip on the people we date. And cause immeasurable pain and re-traumatization to both ourselves and the people we date as a result of it.
When you are dating, contrary to a lot of dating advice, it is so important to know what specifically you want to have be wanted and loved about you. And what kind of relationship you actually want. From there, it is so important to advertise yourself as what you authentically are and speak and act in a way that is reflective of what you actually want in a relationship. You don’t want to go score someone who wants something you aren’t or don’t want to be. It is no measure of success to enter into a relationship with someone who wants a totally different relationship than you do. And is it really a measure of success to be able to dupe someone into thinking you are something that you aren’t? If you do that, they don’t want you. So, that feel good sensation of having found a strategy that causes you to be wanted by someone, isn’t actually in reality. In reality, they don’t want you. All this being said, if you are straight up terrified about entering into a relationship advertising the reality of yourself and the reality of what you’re looking for, you would benefit by watching my episode titled: The Value Realization (A Realization That Can Completely Change your Self Worth).
To advertise reality is scary because it means that people will be judging the real you, not just something fake that you put out there. There is no ‘buffer’ anymore. But how much energy and time do you really have for this strategic, deceptive dance? Do you want to continue to perpetuate this culture where other people dupe you? What kind of dating world do you want to vote for with your thoughts, words and actions? One where people are as advertised? Or one where you only find out who someone is and what they really want once you’ve already committed to them and there will be pain on all sides?

People Are NOT Attached to Their Pain!

I met once with a woman who was desperate to fix her daughter. Her daughter had been in and out of drug rehab clinics and her mother was perplexed with her negativity. She said to me, “Sometimes I think the problem with my daughter is that she’s attached to her pain”. Another time, I was at a seminar and I walked in on a speech that another speaker was giving. The topic of that speech was why chronic pain patients sabotage their treatments and act like they don’t want to get better because they like their pain. This concept that people like pain, and that because they like it, they are attached to their pain, is an especially pervasive one in the psychology, self-help and spiritual communities. And it is a concept that is doing a great deal of damage. This narrative needs to be changed immediately.
Let’s get something out of the way very quickly… People do not like their pain. End of story. And when we talk about attachment, there is the implication that a person has some dark affection or fondness for their pain and that this penchant for pain keeps a person fastened or connected to pain. This is just wrong. 
When it seems like someone won’t let go of something that you judge as painful, such as a behavior or a strategy or a belief or whatever it is, it is because that person believes that regarding whatever situation they are in, they will be in MORE pain without it. And they might be wrong about that, or they might in fact be right about that. Therefore, the thing you judge as painful is something that they perceive to be decreasing their pain and bringing relief. So that you can understand what I mean, here are a few examples:
Margery suffers from chronic pain. Her doctor is perplexed because Margery makes appointments and complains about how much pain she is in, but never follows through with any of the treatments or suggestions that her doctor gives to her. Her doctor is starting to think that Margery wants to stay sick. Margery is in very real pain. But what is causing her health to break down is complete isolation. She believes that no one cares about her and that no one benefits by being in her company. This creates so much distress that she is truly becoming more and more ill. Because of this, she must subconsciously try to find backdoor ways to be cared about. The only time that anyone ever cared about her as a child, was when she was sick. She does not want to be in pain and she does not want to be sick. But being in physical pain and being sick, if it means that she gets to have some company at her doctor visits and she gets cared for and paid attention to, is less pain than the alternative. Staying sick actually decreases her emotional pain. If she were to follow through on treatments and to get better, she perceives that she would once again be totally isolated. Justine is 15 years old. She routinely engages in self harm. Cutting and burning are the most typical forms of self-harm that she engages in. Her parents are absolutely perplexed about how someone could want to do things like that to themselves. They seek out counseling for Justine to figure out what is so wrong with their daughter that she likes and is addicted to pain. But the problem isn’t that Justine likes pain. The problem is that in the household that Justine lives in, Justine is deeply unhappy. She feels like no one sees her, no one understands her needs and therefore, she will never have her needs met. She is alone even when her family members are in the room. She is not important and therefore, she has no reason to live. But on top of this, there is no tolerance in the household for negative thoughts or emotion. No matter what she may be acting like, her parents have a solid truth that they are good parents and that Justine has a good life. They have already decided that she should be happy and that if she isn’t, something is wrong with her. This means that no matter what strategy Justine uses to try to get her parents to change something so that she feels better, they are both unresponsive. The idea that they want to maintain about themselves and about their life is more real and important to them than seeing the reality of their daughter is. Because of this, self-injury is not Justine’s way of being in pain. It is her way of desperately trying to decrease her pain. Because her parents are so unresponsive to anything she does or says, self-injury is a way of escalating her message of desperation so they might just get that she needs something to change immediately. When she cuts, she feels relief because there is an alignment between how wounded she really is on the inside and what is happening on the outside. Her experience is therefore no longer a gaslight. And when she bleeds, she feels like the poison of the negative emotions that her parents won’t tolerate her expressing, finally has an outlet to get out of her being. And the list goes on and on. Justine doesn’t want to be in pain. She doesn’t like it. And when people say she is attached to her pain, she’s right back to that torment of not being seen or understood. The pain of being in emotional hell and alone, because her parents have already decided that the truth is that she isn’t in hell, she’s fine. What the pain of self-injury does, is it serves to decrease her pain and it serves as an attempt to try to self-preserve in an environment that is both dysfunctional and destructive.  Mitch is driving the people that know him crazy. People hate spending time around Mitch. They describe him as “negative”. He is cynical and pessimistic and he is always focused on what is wrong and what is bad. Mitch never misses the opportunity to make people who are feeling happy aware about the negative reality of that thing that they are currently happy about. Mitch doesn’t actually enjoy seeing the world in a totally negative light. He hates the way he feels towards people and towards life. The problem is that several times over the course of Mitch’s life, he experienced catastrophic blows to his belief in others, his hopes, his dreams, his goals, his trust, his faith, his desires, and his positive expectations. These blindsiding and crushing experiences were so psychologically and emotionally traumatizing that Mitch decided that a state of positivity is inherently vulnerable and is an invitation for pain that he can’t handle. Subconsciously, he decided that had to buffer himself against and protect others from positivity at all costs. Mitch began to use negativity as this buffer against pain.  What any example of a person maintaining a painful behavior or a painful strategy or a painful belief will show you is that you can’t say that they like pain and you can’t say that they are attached to their pain. What you can say is that they are using a painful strategy to attempt to reduce or avoid worse pain. To understand more about this, I want you to watch my video titled: There Is No Such Thing as Self Sabotage. And if we don’t get this through our heads very quickly, we will simply ADD to their pain and make it worse. We will simply prove that we ourselves “don’t get it”, which means we are part of the problem and which means we are leaving them alone in pain. We will start to corrode their self-concept by making them feel like something is wrong with them because of some idiotic idea that they should be able to just decide to feel good. We will continue to make them feel condemned and forsaken to suffer by implying that we think they derive pleasure from something that actually is so painful for them that they would choose pain to get out of worse pain. And we will not do the right things in order to help them to find the right way to get out of pain all together. 
No one likes being in pain and no one is attached to their pain in the way that most people mean it when they use the word ‘attached’. We need to stop propagating this idea and therefore, because of their connotation, we need to stop using these words. I ask you to join me in this understanding. 

The Root of Mental Illness is Unsafety

Have you been looking around lately and had the feeling that people are losing their mind? There is actually a very good reason for this. And that reason has the potential to change how we approach mental illness. When most people think of unsafety, the images that are conjured in their mind are situations that can lead to physical harm. Such as swimming with sharks or being in a relationship with someone who is physically abusive or driving in a blizzard or being around someone who is infected with a virus for example. But the actual picture of unsafety is much broader. To be safe is to be protected from or to be free from danger, risk, harm, pain or injury. But danger, risk, harm, pain and injury can occur on many different levels of the self as a result of so many different things. It can occur to you emotionally, mentally and/or physically. It can occur as the result of what is not done just as easily as it can occur as a result of what is done. After all, when our needs are not met, that is a danger to our wellbeing and so we perceive ourselves to be unsafe.
Anytime our wellbeing and best interests are opposed, we perceive ourselves to be unsafe. And this perception of unsafety, causes us distress. When a person is in a situation that causes them distress, but they perceive themselves to be unable to eradicate the stressor itself, they are forced to cope with it. To cope is to make a specific alteration mentally, emotionally or physically so that you can manage or adapt to something that is causing you stress. And a coping mechanism is a specific procedure, strategy, process or technique, which manages or creates adaptation to stress. To make this simple, if we cannot make a situation safe, we are forced to manage with, deal with and adapt to the unsafe situation, so as to make ourselves safer in that unsafe situation.
The primary coping mechanism for a physical human is fragmentation. This is essentially the splitting of one’s own consciousness so as to suppress vulnerability and to the opposite, to put forward aspects of oneself that can self-preserve. We could say that in order to deal with unsafety, you have within you a part of you that is vulnerable and a part of you that is trying to protect that vulnerability. We could call these protector parts “protector personalities”. And though people tend to default to a particular protector with a particular strategy to stay safe in most situations, the reality is that people have several of them within themselves. If you want to learn more about this in-depth, you can watch my video titled: Fragmentation the Worldwide Disease.
The thing is, these protectors within people have some strategies, procedures, processes, techniques and behaviors for trying to self-preserve that are pretty extreme. In psychology today, a mental illness is diagnosed on the basis of symptoms that present themselves in a person. But if you look deep into those symptoms, they are really just indicators of unsafety and adaptive strategies that a person is using in order to try to self-preserve when faced with that unsafety.
So that you can understand what I mean, here are a few examples:
Don grew up in a dysfunctional family system where every person in the household was really just out for themselves. His father was an alcoholic, who was more of a threat to the family than he was a benefit to the family. His mother was hopelessly codependent. She would let Don’s father do anything to both he and his brother if it meant avoiding conflict herself. Don’s brother Charley figured out that the only way to self-preserve in that home was to become everything that their father and mother wanted. To be the kid who caused no problems whatsoever. Don found this impossible to do. He could never get off of his father’s bad side and his mother only ever sided with his father. As a result, Don was unsafe. He realized quite young that people are really only ever out for themselves. He realized that if he was going to stay safe, he was going to have to be concerned with and look out for his own best interests only.
Even though down deep, Don has very low self-esteem, Don behaves extremely arrogant. He exaggerates his achievements and his talents. He is able to suppress his feelings of powerlessness by deciding that he is meant for big things in this life. He focuses his mind obsessively on his own success and power. He seeks admiration everywhere he goes. He insists on having the best of everything. He monopolizes conversations. He uses other people to his advantage. He confuses unquestioning compliance with love. He tunes out the needs and feelings of other people. Don has been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. But what people are calling a disorder is really just an attempt to protect himself and ensure his own wellbeing. Jake was born into a very wealthy political family. His family cares much more about money and status and keeping up appearances than they care about the emotional needs of any specific member of the family. When Jake was young, he needed guidance and tenderness and comfort. Instead, he was passed off onto a transient stream of nannies and sent off to a harsh boarding school. As a child, when he acted unhappy or started to express his issues with what was happening, he was immediately invalidated. He spent his life being gaslit. Being told that unlike other people, he had everything. Being told that only losers can’t make the best of things. Being shamed and isolated for any negative emotion he had. And later, being sent off to centers in secret for rehab because no one in the public could find out that someone in the family had issues. Jake is in a great deal of despair. He feels like shit about himself. He is emotionally starving. But that aspect of him that is emotionally starving and in despair does not keep him safe. Instead, it makes him more unsafe in his family. It is what he is trying to deny, suppress and disown… even though he can’t. Whenever something happens that causes this despair to creep up, he rarely recognizes it. Instead, he immediately subconsciously panics and so to him, his mood swings seem to “come out of the blue”. And in order to try to stay away from the perceived unsafety of his own despair and his true negative feelings about the situations in his life, his protector personality steps in. This part of him starts to behave manically. It won’t let him go to sleep because slowing down would mean being present with how he is actually feeling. It causes his thoughts to race. It causes him to go on buying sprees and take drugs. It causes him to go climb dangerous mountains with little to no preparation and with no rest periods. It tells him and other people stories about how amazingly he is doing in life and about the big things in the world that he is going to create and accomplish. All of this is an avoidance strategy. And that avoidance strategy does not last very long.
Soon, after four days or so, Jake can’t keep it up. Because he is suppressing the part of him that is in despair and that feels like shit about himself and that is emotionally starving, that part is actually being fed with energy too. And so, on day #5, he experiences a parts takeover. Jake has no energy at all. He is depressed and he finds no pleasure in any of the things he usually enjoys. He loses his appetite and he feels guilty and worthless. During these periods, he frequently starts to think of plans to kill himself. Jake has no idea what to do to exit this never-ending cycle. Jake is considered to be mentally ill. He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His psychiatrist has not recognized that this entire behavioral pattern that he has labeled bipolar is really just Jake’s adaptive strategy to the specific kind of unsafety he experienced and continues to experience in his life. Ruth was molested by her step brother. When the incest was happening, she knew that what was happening was wrong. She knew that it didn’t feel good and was terrifying. But her step brother kept telling her that he did it because she was just so beautiful. She felt completely out of control of herself. Out of control of her body because he was able to do what he wanted with it, regardless of what she wanted. And out of control of her emotions because even though she knew it was wrong, she couldn’t stop herself from wanting that positive feedback about her being beautiful. Being out of control like this made her feel unsafe. And so, she took control back by controlling her own body. Ruth started severely restricting her food intake, even to the point of starvation. She would misuse laxatives, diuretics and diet aids. She became addicted to enemas. And she would exercise so excessively that she lost her periods. Ruth has been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. But what we are calling anorexia, is just an adaptive strategy to try to deal with the specific unsafety that Ruth experienced in her life. There are so many strategies, procedures, processes, techniques and behaviors that people employ in order to try to protect themselves and ensure their own wellbeing when they perceive there to be a threat to their wellbeing. Just to give you a tiny list of examples, a person might isolate, become defensive, go into denial, run away and avoid, become combative, become controlling, catastrophize, worry, micromanage, fawn, bully, romanticize the past, slip into an overlay, become pessimistic, become optimistic, dissociate, become manic, take drugs or medications, spend compulsively, self-harm, sleep, be promiscuous, project, deflect, binge, become passive aggressive, play zero sum games, become self-righteous, lie, become overly friendly or be guarded etc.
It is essential that you understand that any of these adaptive strategies that you might look at and not understand at face value or call maladaptive (because they don’t seem to keep a person safe, in fact they seem to make them more unsafe) are still strategies the person is using to keep themselves safe. Most of the time, when a person uses a ‘maladaptive strategy’ to self-preserve, it is because they perceive themselves to be in a lose-lose situation. They perceive themselves to be choosing between something painful and something else painful. They are merely choosing the less painful option. For example, a person might use the strategy of cutting to self-preserve. They are choosing the pain of the physical harm of a knife and the interpersonal consequences that come with having cut themselves over the pain of the severity of their distress being unseen. Or over the distress of being held captive by rigid and inflexible rule structures about emotional expression and therefore being unable to express anger or despair. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: There Is No Such Thing as Self Sabotage.
Long story short, when a person perceives that their own wellbeing and best interests are threatened, even at a subconscious level, they perceive themselves to be unsafe. And this perception of unsafety causes people to employ protective strategies, procedures, processes, techniques and behaviors. These strategies often make people behave in ways that seem not sane. They cause people to behave in ways that are unsafe to other people. And this becomes a vicious cycle. 
This dynamic naturally occurs within people. But this dynamic is greatly amplified during any time of collective unsafety such as a war or a pandemic or a financial crisis or a famine or a natural disaster. This is what is happening in the world today. People are behaving more ‘mentally ill’ than ever because the unsafety they feel is causing their protector personalities to take over and employ protective strategies, procedures, processes, techniques and behaviors that cause them to behave in less than sane ways… Ways that make other people around them more unsafe. And the more unsafe they make other people, the more those people employ their own protective strategies, which makes them more unsafe and double down on their strategies and so on and so forth until what we are looking at is an ‘inflamed world’. A world that is genuinely unsafe and genuinely insane because of the very strategies people are all using to try to stay safe and preserve or bring about their own wellbeing. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of believing people when they justify their own self-protection strategies by saying it is something they are doing to “keep other people safe”. When people are in this mode, they employ very self-centered strategies. Even if they fight for someone else’s safety, it is because keeping that person or those people safe, somehow preserves their own safety. 
To give you an example of this dynamic in the world today, imagine that Jenna perceives that a virus is going to kill her and those she loves. Jenna might have persistent thoughts and images of herself in a hospital or of helplessly watching someone she loves struggle to breathe. She might try to mitigate that unsafety by watching the news day and night (because information makes her feel safer), by isolating in her home, by obsessively washing her hands and by becoming combative online with people who aren’t taking safety measures seriously. Jenna starts to perceive that the people who are not taking measures are a threat to her and to those she loves. The way Jenna behaves now, starts to make other people feel unsafe. One of those people is Crystal. 
Crystal has been friends with Jenna for 10 years. But lately, Jenna’s obsessive compulsive and militant behavior has been making Crystal feel unsafe. As a yoga instructor and doula, Crystal has always seen the deep-rooted problems within the medical and pharmaceutical establishment. She is a natural health freak. She feels like Jenna, and the people like her, that are both establishing and supporting the mask wearing and lock downs and vaccination measures are against her best interests and the best interests of the world. She sees herself losing the choice about what happens with her own body. She sees the consequences of isolation. She imagines that she and the world is headed towards a totalitarian regime. She might try to mitigate this unsafety by texting Jenna passive aggressive memes, by ignoring the news all together, by reading about her constitutional rights, by submitting scathing letters to her local government, and by investing in a gun (something she thought she would never own). The strategies that Crystal is using to try to mitigate her unsafety makes Jenna feel more unsafe. And the more unsafe Jenna feels, the more extreme her protective strategies become. And this makes Crystal feel even more unsafe. And the more unsafe Crystal feels, the more extreme her protective strategies become. Sound familiar? Because this is happening at a global level. And it continues to escalate and the social atmosphere of humanity continues to become more inflamed.      
By understanding what is really going on in the world, you may feel called to change your approach to what you are doing in the world and to how you are interacting with other people. And if people would understand that what we are calling mental illness is really just adaptive strategies for mitigating unsafety, it would completely change the approach we take with regards to mental illness.

How to Deal with Unworkability

You’d be hard pressed to find something that makes people feel more powerless than being in a situation where they need someone to make a specific change, but that specific someone is being unworkable regarding that specific change. Let’s define unworkability as someone or something being so rigid in the way it is, that a change or improvement will not happen; no matter how needed that change might be. This automatically makes other people feel angry. Anger is almost always about the perception of unworkability. It causes people to feel like the situation is futile.
So that you can understand unworkability, I’ll give you two examples of unworkability. The first example is: A man keeps breaking his word. The people in his social group keep getting hurt by it. They have reflected to him that it is a problem so many times at this point that they are now begging him to go to a therapist. But no matter how many group interventions they try to carry out, or how many times they fight about it, he just continues to break his word. And he continues to come up with excuses as to why he is justified in doing so.
The second example is: A man wants his girlfriend to commit to him and to make him a priority in her life, just like he makes her a priority in his life. They have gotten into fights over and over because every time he needs her to show up in the relationship, she behaves in a flaky way. For example, when he received an award at a company party and had to give a public speech, she promised she would be there to support him. But she cancelled last minute. And when he invited her to have dinner with his family, she showed up drunk. And when he tries to solve relationship problems by talking to her, she often says that she is too tired and falls asleep during the talk. No matter how many times they talk about it and she promises to be different, and no matter how many ways he has tried to fix the problem, nothing changes. She is not committed and he is beginning to feel like she most likely never will be.
There are also things that are unworkable that are less about a person defiantly not changing a pattern that causes themselves and other people problems. For example, a man gets into an automobile accident. He is paralyzed. His wife is desperate for him to be able to walk again because she doesn’t feel like he can protect the family anymore in a disabled state and she is already too overwhelmed with caring for the kids. Caring for a man in a wheelchair is something she feels like she cannot handle. But no matter how desperate she is, he will never walk again.
Or for example, a woman gets into a relationship with an actor. He has to be gone to be on set and to film movies for months at a time. She feels abandoned and wants him to quit and be home with her. But because acting in movies is his passion and purpose, he will not do that. Him being gone for months at a time to be on set is a non-negotiable, and it should be.
When people feel like a situation is futile and therefore needed change is impossible, (especially when there is some personal negative impact that will come as a result of that futility) they tend to feel like they have lost their free will and personal power in the situation. They often slip into despair because they then feel like they will simply have to put up with pain or leave. For this reason, I’m going to explain to you how to deal with unworkability.
You must call out the unworkability directly. Unworkability is the ultimate form of resistance. Instead of dealing with whatever the person is being unworkable about, draw their attention to the fact that they are being unworkable. This unworkability in and of itself is like a solid, rigid layer that is sitting on top of whatever is proving to be unworkable. For example, if someone is being rigid and inflexible in terms of an opinion that they are holding, you stop fighting the opinion in and of itself. Instead, you draw the person’s attention to the fact that they are being completely inflexible and unworkable relative to their opinion. From there, you make them aware of what the negative consequences and negative impact of being unworkable regarding whatever they are being unworkable about will be. Negative consequences for you, for other people and for them. Drawing someone’s conscious awareness to their own unworkability so that they see their own rigidity is like drawing a high intensity light beam to a solid block of ice. The unworkability starts to melt. Work together to figure out what positive purpose the unworkability in and of itself serves. And also, what positive purpose the thing that is being unworkable serves. You must understand that if someone is being unworkable, they are convinced that the  unworkability is doing something positive and beneficial for them. You must also understand that if someone will not change something, they are convinced that whatever they will not change, is doing something positive and beneficial for them. For example, imagine that someone is being unworkable relative to considering someone else’s point of view. They might find that being unworkable in and of itself causes them to feel like they can keep a sense of themselves and keep their own truth, which is the opposite of the enmeshment they suffered from in childhood. And let’s say that their unworkable point of view is that everyone should be able to do exactly what they want because each person is responsible for the way they, themselves feel. They might find that this point of view helps them to avoid the crushing weight of responsibility and the feeling that they are not free in relationships. From there, explore whether there is a different way to go about meeting the need or fulfilling the want that is inherent in that positive intention that is gluing the person to their unworkability. When a person looks directly at their unworkability in a conscious way, it puts them in a choice point relative to their own personal truth. And this either causes the person to change, or it causes them to commit in a conscious way to whatever is causing their unworkability.  Either way, it creates forward movement. For example, using our previous example, perhaps the girlfriend discovers that the reason she keeps being unworkable relative to flaking on her boyfriend is because she’s terrified of commitment, but she really does want to be in a committed relationship. She might then decide to go to therapy. Or perhaps she discovers that that she keeps being unworkable because she doesn’t actually want to be in a committed relationship and doesn’t want to have to be constantly concerned with someone else’s wellbeing. She might decide it is time to have a conversation about changing the expectations they have towards each other in their relationship and/or to potentially end the relationship with her boyfriend. Make sure that something is genuinely unworkable before simply deciding that it is. So many people become prematurely convinced that something is totally unworkable, when it is actually workable. When it becomes necessary to consider that something is genuinely unworkable is when a person directly communicates that they will not change something. Or when your constant effort to try to change something is in and of itself becoming a state of powerless resistance and is causing you to suffer more than you would suffer by simply accepting the unworkability.If someone’s awareness of their own unworkability causes a change, you aren’t dealing with unworkability anymore. But if you draw someone’s attention to their unworkability and the process of becoming aware of the dynamics going into their unworkability reveals that whatever it is that you need to change, will not change, you need to accept that unworkability. If you are genuinely facing unworkability and it is futile to try to change something, you are then at a choice point. You must accept that even though a change could potentially happen, you can no longer try to change it. Instead, you must accept that what you want to change will not change. And from there, you have to decide what to do about that. You are not powerless. You have two very polarized choices: 1. Remove yourself from the situation. This means that you could leave the person or exit the situation. Or, 2. You could keep things exactly the way they are and choose to continue to suffer. But you also have all kinds of options in-between and alternative to those extremes. This step is like accepting that one door is closed. End of story. And so, you divert all of your attention to what other doors might be open. You consider what adaptations you could make regarding whatever is unchangeable, so as to still be able to bring about what you want and need. For example, using our previous example, if people were to accept that their friend will keep breaking his word, with their free will they have the choice to keep putting themselves in situations where they depend on his word and keep getting hurt when he breaks it. They also have the choice to get rid of him as a friend. They also have many other choices, such as: Keeping him as a friend, but not considering him a super close friend. No longer expecting him to follow through and simply considering it a bonus if he does follow through. No longer putting themselves in the position to be let down by him. Only inviting him to things where it doesn’t matter if he shows up or not. Making sure that he is never trusted with responsibilities. Bringing in another friend to the social group who can take his place and allowing him to be put into a more suitable place and arrangement within the social system. Etc. The most important thing is that any and all options are an attempt to adapt to the unworkable thing never changing, no longer an attempt to change it. Doing this is very different than enabling. When you enable someone, what you are doing is keeping yourself, the other person and potentially others involved in the situation stuck in a dysfunctional situation. You are allowing and helping someone to continue destructive behavior. The goal of approaching unworkability in this way, is to get yourself and all others involved out of the dysfunction of continuing to hit your head against a brick wall and continuing to keep painful things the way they are.
Unworkability causes you to confront feelings of powerlessness and futility. It forces you to look at the deeper causes of the unworkability. It forces you to face what is and what isn’t changeable. It forces you to accept what you may not want to accept. It forces you to find your personal power, free will and choice even when faced with something that makes you perceive yourself to be powerless. It forces you to find the movement when faced with what is immovable. It forces you to make a different change than the ideal one that you have in your mind. It forces you to get creative. Just remember, just because you are facing something that is futile, does not mean that you are stuck in futility. You just need to change your approach.

Gratitude

Any of you that are practicing conscious manifestation have been made aware of the power of gratitude. You have learned that the key to manifestation is having an “attitude of gratitude”. Some of you have embraced this idea of living from a space of gratitude full heartedly. Others of you hear the word gratitude, much less the phrase “attitude of gratitude”, and immediately cringe. The thing is, gratitude is where happiness begins. And gratitude genuinely is a priceless tool when it comes to conscious manifestation. Therefore, today I’m going to make a case for gratitude which will cause those of you who are gratitude resistant to release your resistance to gratitude; and which will cause those of you who have embraced gratitude to love it even more.
Let’s start by addressing the resistance to gratitude. If you are someone that cringes when you hear the word gratitude, the reason you feel this way is because of pain. People who struggle with gratitude have had or are having a painful life experience. When this is the case, focusing on what they are grateful for often feels like self-betrayal. It can feel like you are kissing the foot that kicks you. It can also feel emotionally abusive because it can feel like you are invalidating, negating or denying the very real pain that you are in, pain that needs to be acknowledged and resolved instead. So, the things causing you pain will never be changed. And the parts of you that are in pain begin to feel like they are being whitewashed over or sugarcoated and therefore will never be helped, instead they are condemned to suffer forever and suffer alone. 
On top of this, people who struggle with gratitude often have had painful experiences relative to gratitude itself in relationships. For example, chances are high that someone in your past was the kind of person where when you acknowledged something positive, it made it more likely that they would never acknowledge or change whatever it was that was causing you pain. And chances are super high that someone in your past (usually an authority and caregiver in your childhood) did things for you and gave things to you in an impure way. Often with hidden transactions and with strings attached. And gratitude became something that made you unsafe. For example, a parent may do something for a child not because of genuine love for the child, but because they want the child to be indebted to them and therefore to do exactly what they want. This becomes a manipulative power play whereby if the child does not do exactly what the parent wants, all the things that the parent did for the child will be held over the child’s head. They will be called ungrateful. To understand more about this, you would benefit by watching my video titled: Cut the Invisible Strings.
Or for example, a child may start to complain about something in their life that is painful to them. And instead of that pain being seen, felt, heard and resolved, it is turned against. And the child is shamed for the way they feel, led to believe they shouldn’t feel that way and that something is wrong with them because they do. An adult in their life (or many) might make it very clear that they should be grateful for what they have. They may follow this up by telling the child about someone else who has it so much worse than they do. Or they may follow this up by countering whatever the child is complaining about with something else in the child’s life that is good and should therefore negate the painful thing. Such as: “You should be grateful for these hand me down shoes, don’t you know some children in Africa and India don’t even have any shoes?” Or imagine that the child gets upset because he or she doesn’t see Daddy much anymore. An adult in the child’s life might say “But look at the bright side, your best friend lives next door.”  
On top of this, people who struggle with gratitude often experience pain when they are around someone who is demonstratively in an attitude of gratitude, much less telling them that they should be too. Have you ever been in serious pain and been around someone who is in a happy little bubble, making you feel like something is wrong with you because you aren’t too? Have you ever been in serious pain around someone who is willfully ignoring or who is in total denial of anything negative? It makes you feel worse and less grateful, not more grateful. People who understand the power of gratitude often seriously mess up with people who are in pain. They don’t realize that they are making a person feel worse and taking them further away from a state of gratitude when they suggest that they should adopt an “attitude of gratitude”. They are condemning the person to feeling in pain and like something is bad about them and wrong with them for feeling pain instead of just being able to shift their focus so that they feel good. And totally alone, in their own parallel reality, in that pain. They are condemning the person to a painful parallel reality. To understand more about this, you would benefit by watching my video titled: The Most Dangerous Parallel Reality. And when you are caused pain by these “attitude of gratitude” people who seem to deny and ignore anything negative in favor of only acknowledging what is positive and good, you associate gratitude with them… the person causing you pain. You don’t want to be anything like the person who hurt you, so you throw out gratitude when you decide to be nothing like them.
Gratitude can become a tool of abuse. When these types of painful experiences happen with gratitude, an association begins to form within a person between gratitude and being shut down emotionally, gratitude and being minimized, gratitude and being invalidated, gratitude and being made to feel bad/wrong, gratitude and enmeshment, gratitude and being controlled, gratitude and being humbled, gratitude and being in debt to others, gratitude and being manipulated, gratitude and shame, gratitude and being obligated, gratitude and power struggle, gratitude and the people who hurt you, gratitude and putting up with what you have rather than what you want, gratitude and your pain never being resolved because people will simply think everything is ok, when it’s not, etc. An association forms between gratitude and pain. No wonder you cringe at the idea of gratitude.
Anytime you have a painful association with something, the way out of it is to develop a new relationship and form new associations with it. For example, if you have had a terrible experience with a dog, what heals that is having a wonderful experience with a dog. If you hated Christmas, what heals that is to take charge of the holiday and fill Christmas time with the unique things you specifically want Christmas to be about; things you can look forward to all year long. Just because gratitude is something that may have brought you pain in the past, doesn’t mean that it always will and doesn’t mean that your trauma relative to gratitude can’t be healed. Just because an ‘attitude of gratitude’ can definitely be used as a tool of resistance and denial and therefore cause people pain, doesn’t mean that it can’t also be a very valuable tool to have in your own tool box… a tool that you can use for your own happiness and a tool that you can use to manifest what you want.
All that being said, here is my case for Gratitude:
Gratitude does not negate anything negative or unwanted. Gratitude does not cancel pain out. Gratitude does not minimize anything painful. Anyone who is using Gratitude in this way, is in a state of resistance and is using gratitude as a tool of resistance. They are afraid of seeing and acknowledging the painful, the unwanted and the negative. The truth of this universe is that polarity exists. In any moment, you have the negative and the positive; the wanted and the unwanted. To be in reality, is to clearly see both. And Consciousness is where we need to head if we want to truly become conscious. To understand this, watch my video titled: And Consciousness, The Modern-Day Replacement for The Middle Way. But chances are that if you are resistant to gratitude, you are resistant to acknowledging the positive. You are afraid of looking at the positive. Ask yourself why. Directly see, hear, feel and acknowledge your resistance to gratitude and work through it. When this is the case, you lack awareness of the positive and wanted side of the equation of life. And this means, in order to be conscious, you need to expand your awareness there! Know that gratitude does not and should not invalidate the things in your life that are painful, unwanted and negative. Gratitude is simply one of those powerful tools you have in your tool box.  Forget all that crap about being indebted or obligated or being expected to give thanks. To have gratitude for something is to have appreciation for that thing and to be conscious of the benefit you receive by having that thing. And to appreciate means to see the full worth of something. It is to see the positive about it. Gratitude implies that you acknowledge that you are pleased with something. Therefore, think of gratitude as notice, awareness and acknowledgement of what is positive about something. And therefore, acknowledgement of the worth and value of it. On an energetic level, gratitude is actually no different than putting your order in with the universe regarding your life experience. It calls the positive and the wanted to you. This is why it is such a powerful manifestation tool. When you are focusing on what you are grateful for, you are letting the universe know what you love. Vibrationally speaking, gratitude is a big “yes, I like this and I want more of this!”. Gratitude is a state of receptivity to the positive. This is a pretty powerful state to be in vibrationally speaking. And this interests the universe because it tells the universe more about what it is and what to choose to become. This means, by focusing on what you are grateful for, you are assisting the goal of self-awareness that the universe at large has for itself.Have you noticed that when someone seems to really be conscious of the full worth and value of something you are or you do, and indicate that they love it, you feel more and more compelled to be that way or do that thing for them? How do you feel when someone takes you and/or something you do for granted and doesn’t really see its positivity, worth or value? One feels like an openness to you, the other, like a closedness to you. And the universe at large is a macrocosm. The universe at large responds the same way you do to appreciation. When you really appreciate something, you are opening up to receive from the universe. When you are only focusing on the negative and unwanted, naturally you are closing off and pushing things away from you. And in a universe based on the law of mirroring, this means the ‘other’ closes off to you. Acknowledging and really feeling what you are grateful for is mirrored back to you as abundance. Only noticing and feeling what you don’t have and what you don’t like is mirrored back to you as lack. Gratitude creates happiness in relationships and increases the strength of bonds in relationships. Let’s look at gratitude as it exists only between two people. What happens to you and to how you feel towards the other person and to how you feel towards the relationship that you have with that person, when another person is only focused on what is displeasing, what is a problem, what is bad and wrong, what is negative, what is unwanted and what is a problem about you? What happens when they don’t see or acknowledge your value and worth? Eventually, you feel like crap about yourself, you feel hurt by the other person and so, you might even start to see them as an adversary and start to hate them. You feel unhappy and the relationship feels painful and unhealthy. You may even want to leave the relationship. Having gratitude for other people and for the relationship you have with them and expressing that to them, functions the exact opposite way. It makes the other person feel good about themselves, feel positive towards you, feel happy and fulfilled in the relationship, feel closer to you and see you as an ally. And this in turn causes them to pull you closer, committing to you more. Your emotional system is designed to reflect thoughts. You will not feel happy if you are thinking about what is negative, what you lack, what you don’t want and what is bad and wrong. Those type of thoughts will reflect in your being as things like anxiety, fear, constriction, depression, sinking, darkness, soreness, heaviness, cold, pain etc. This does not mean that there isn’t an important place and purpose for looking at those things. Don’t take this to that place where people in resistance take it when they say things like “the key to life is to focus only on the positive”. All this means is that if you want to feel the sensations you judge as feeling good and that you associate with happiness, you can feel them by thinking about what is positive, what you have that you appreciate, what you want and what is good and right… Gratitude. Gratitude can be compared to eating healthy food or exercising or bathing or making healthy lifestyle choices. It is a powerful element of self-care and health. Gratitude causes a cascade of physiological effects. It does the mind, emotions and body good. It causes you to feel optimism about the future. It improves your self-esteem. It rewires your brain for the better. It causes your tissues to relax. It causes you to breathe deeper. It causes your heart rate to slow down and to be coherent. It builds your resilience. It causes you to feel “up” instead of “down”. It pulls you out of fight or flight mode. It increases dopamine in your brain. It dramatically reduces pain. It makes you more rational. It decreases inflammation in the body. It causes you to be open to life. It reduces your stress. It makes you better at communicating. It regulates your metabolism. It puts you in a state of receptivity to positive things, where you are a vibrational match to what you are wanting and what you like. It increases your immunity. It acts as a buffer against trauma as well as the development of PSTD as a result of that trauma. It decreases both envy and jealousy. It makes you kinder and more generous. It gives you better sleep. It creates stronger social bonds and improves your relationships.      Practicing gratitude does not have to be difficult, cheesy, pathetic, trite or painful in any way. And you can do it in ‘your’ way. But a few ideas for ways to practice gratitude are:
You can start a gratitude journal where every day, you write down a list of anything from big things to very simple and small things that you are pleased with, that you like, that you are happy you got to experience, that you see the positive in, that you want more of, that you recognize the worth and value of and that you are thankful you have. Any downside has an upside and any upside has a downside. See if you can increase your awareness by finding the upside to any downside. Relative to anything that you are displeased with, don’t like and see as negative, can you find the hidden positives in those things? For example, potentially getting fired contains the positive of having time to focus on what really makes you passionate and you don’t have to be around that colleague you don’t like anymore and you are no longer tied down to living in this specific city or place and it’s kind of exciting to think about what new life experiences and new people and what different chapter of your life might be coming next as a result.   You can choose someone specific and intentionally demonstrate gratitude for them in some specific way. For example, you can write a message of gratitude to someone. In this letter, you can write to them about the things about them that you like, that you see the value and worth of, that you are pleased with and what about them you are thankful for. If you’re not a big writer, you can speak it to them instead. This being said, keep in mind that people are often very limited in terms of how they recognize gratitude. Many people only think of gratitude in terms of words of affirmation. But any of the love languages, such as physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service and quality time can be demonstrations of gratitude. Even things like someone defending you, asking for your opinion, showing you loyalty, committing to you, taking actions to change the things about themselves that cause you pain, staying in touch with you, keeping you in a certain place in their life or in their heart etc. can be a way that they show gratitude for you. You can do an awareness meditation where you pretend to be someone who has much less than you have. For example, you could pretend to be someone who is very poor financially or who is less free than you are or who lacks resources regarding their emotional needs. And imagine going into their body and walking through your life, but as them. What might they appreciate about your life? You can do a practice I call the ‘scavenger hunt for positives’. To do this exercise, you simply look around you, taking notice of literally anything that is positive or that you like. And you mentally say what it is, in your own head. For example, say you are driving. You might take notice of a car whose color you like, you would mentally say to yourself “The color of that car.” And then if you saw a dad with his daughter on his shoulders, you would mentally say to yourself “The way that dad is being with his daughter”. You might even say to yourself “That I am doing this focus exercise right now and am able to change the way I feel”. And so on and so forth. It may help you to set a timer or to decide upon a block of time to be disciplined about this exercise. Just like meditation, if you feel your mind going back to problems or to what you don’t like, don’t fight that it happened, just re-direct your focus back to hunting for things you like. To make a deliberate practice of gratitude is this simple: It is to make space for appreciation in your life. For most people, gratitude is not something that just happens to and for them. It isn’t something you just feel. To feel gratitude, you have to do something actively to feel it. But doing something actively so as to feel it, is a very powerful tool. It can help you to bring about not only happiness, but also whatever it is that you are wanting.

Don’t Do Shadow Work if You Don’t Plan on Actually Making a Change

By this point, you have already heard of shadow work. To sum it up in a neat little package, shadow work is the practice of becoming conscious of the unconscious aspects within you. This integration of unconsciousness ultimately leads to complete and total awareness. Shadow work is absolutely essential if you want to be an integrated person, if you want to actualize your personal power, if you want to walk the earth without fear, if you want to step into a place of free will instead of determinism, if you want to become awakened, if you want to know yourself, if you want to create the life you want in reality, if you want to end your suffering and/or the suffering in the world and the list goes on and on. To understand more about this, you can watch two of my videos. The first is: What is Shadow Work?. The second is: What are the Benefits of Shadow Work. Ultimately, shadow work is my specialty. For this reason, what I am about to say is something that you should take very, very seriously: Do not do shadow work if you don’t plan on actually making a change. 
The only reason people do anything is because they think the doing of it will lead to an improvement. This includes shadow work. People do shadow work because they think it will make them feel better. They think it will lead to better results, an improved state of being, understanding, clarity, whatever it is that they are wanting etc. But if you do shadow work and become aware of some necessary change that is in alignment with your own expansion and don’t make that change or take that action, shadow work will make things worse… a whole lot worse. Not better. 
A lot of people don’t clearly understand the link between non-physical things like the mind and physical things like temporal life. They tend to see non-physical things as abstract. The process of manifestation takes place on both a non-physical and physical level. It is an energetic, mental, emotional and one could say ‘vibrational’ process. It is also a physical, embodied process. But so many people forget how important it is that all these different levels of who you are, are aligned when any change takes place. For example, if you change the way you are thinking because you become aware of something like: I need to be more disciplined about physical health because my lack of discipline is leading to health ailments, to be in alignment, you must also make an actual change to your physical choices and actions by actually doing the practical things that cause you to be healthy. Maybe things like getting out into nature, quitting smoking, intermittent fasting, doing a cleanse or whatever. To understand more about this, you would benefit by watching my video titled: Taking Action is a Crucial Part of Manifestation. If you don’t do this, you’ve actually magnified your mal-alignment. You will be in much more pain about your physical health, feel worse about your lack of discipline relative to health and invite worse symptoms of your ill health to manifest.
To understand this clearly, I will give you two examples. For our first example, let’s look at Ben. Ben has decided to attend a retreat for the first time in his life to get his life straight. He’s been miserably unhappy lately. At that retreat, he becomes aware of and has to face the fact that he is unhappy in his marriage. He and his wife married because they accidentally got pregnant when they were teens. His wife wants a life in the city. She is a social climber who thrives on attention and status. She makes it obvious every day that she is ashamed of the life they are living. She wants Ben to be more ambitious and to have a high paying job in the city. She keeps bringing up the idea of hiring a nanny for their daughter. If Ben is honest, the reason for their constant conflict is that he wants her to stop pulling in the direction of that other life and be happy with the one they have. After all, it is the life that Ben wants. All he is missing is a happy wife. Ben loves their life on his family’s farm. He hates the city. He wants his wife to be happy being a homemaker like his own mother was. He doesn’t care about status and he is rather shy and would rather die than to have a job in an office somewhere in the city. He loves to work with his hands and to eat the food he grows himself. Ben becomes aware that even though he was trying to do the right thing by marrying her, he was young and naive. He thought love was all you need. He and his wife and not ever going to make each other happy by staying together as partners. 
But, when Ben goes home, he gets afraid of all of the pain that might come with actually making a change in his marriage. So, he falls right back into the typical day to day grind of their relationship. He goes right back to the way it was. By failing to make a change to his marriage in alignment with his realization, he is resisting his own expansion. He is now even more out of alignment. He feels like something went terribly wrong because the retreat he attended was supposed to make him feel better. Now, he feels worse. Every time his wife enters the room, he feels irritated. He has lost his sexual interest in her. Their fights are becoming even more explosive than before. And out of the blue, he even suddenly develops back problems. 
Another example is: Olivia joined a local women’s circle and has been doing tons of shadow work on her femininity. Every time she does this, she becomes more and more aware about the parts of her life that are not conducive to her femininity. Really, it is the entire life that she is living. It is the fact that she is a single mother with no genuine masculine containment or protection. It is the fact that she is solely financially responsible for her entire family. It is the fact that she is an executive that is leading a very successful company. It is the fact that it doesn’t matter whether she is on her monthly cycle and needs the space to be quiet and introspective and gentle, she has meetings and presentations to do and a bunch of other men vying for her position to compete with on every project. It is the fact that she lives in America where there is no infrastructure of support and where there are no gender roles anymore and where women are expected to do and be everything. It is that she has no women in her life that she genuinely trusts. And the list goes on and on. But Olivia is unwilling to make the changes necessary to be in alignment with her own increasing awareness of femininity. She is partly unwilling to create a life that is more conducive to her femininity and she partly feels like it is impossible to do so, no matter whether she wants to or not. And so, she’s stuck. She feels she can’t change her job or just go find a man who will want to support her and her daughter. After all, her job is her main source of self-esteem and she needs the income for all the people in her life. She can’t live with the idea of losing her financial security or letting people down. Even if she wants a man to take care of her, after her past experiences with men, she won’t trust a man to be financially responsible for her… that would mean she can get screwed over by him and controlled by him. She feels like she and her daughter won’t survive a breakup with her current boyfriend even though their polarity is flipped and he is passive and she is the one financially supporting his life. So, Olivia doesn’t make a change. She hopes that just the little bit of feminine time she gets in her women’s circles will help. But that doesn’t happen. 
Instead, Olivia becomes more and more unhappy and trapped and powerless in her life. So unhappy that she starts drinking alcohol again. She grows a bitter hatred for men despite the fact that she feels the need for one so badly. And she grows a bitter hatred for the stay-at-home moms that drop their kids off at school at the same time that she drops off her daughter. She hates the way her body feels (overly capable and metallic and armored rather than receptive and soft). She feels more unsafe and more unsupported than ever. She starts to obsessively watch period piece films and fantasize about having been born in a different century, back when men took responsibility for women. And Olivia’s periods keep getting worse and worse. She does not have the luxury of taking days off when she is on her period, so she starts discussing the potential for hysterectomy with her doctor. And all of this, pushes her into a nervous breakdown.
There are a great many reasons why people don’t make changes, even when it becomes obvious that they need to. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: The Real Reason Why People Don’t Change. But shadow work is a catalyst for change. The awareness that comes with shadow work turns the heat up on expansion. It increases the gap between where you are and what you are really wanting. Your decisions and actions must align with the new awareness that you gain or you will be even more out of alignment than you were before. It is easy to see that if you become aware that you are in an abusive relationship, if you stay in that relationship, it will be even worse to be in that relationship than it was before. Or if you become aware that living in your parents’ house is keeping you stuck, but you don’t move out, things will get even worse for you there. Or if you become aware that one of your top values is personal achievement, but you continue to prioritize supporting and helping the other people in your life, you will feel even more unfulfilled. Or if you become aware that you are lonely and really decide that you need friends, but you stay in your apartment every day, you will feel even more separate and emotionally starved than you did before. Or if you become aware of how much suffering goes into the process of the production of meat, but you continue to eat meat, you will feel guilt, shame and internal discord every time you do. If you become aware of how damaging an aspect of human society is, it will be even more painful to witness it.
If shadow work is making your life even worse, it is because there is a disconnect between the awareness you are gaining and the actions you are taking or rather not taking. You are resisting making a necessary change as a result of the shadow work you are doing and in alignment with what you are becoming conscious of.
In case you haven’t noticed already, the universe at large has no problem turning the heat up and making you more and more uncomfortable to the point of crisis in order to influence you into making a change for your own benefit. Therefore, the universe is ok with shadow work making things in your life even worse for you when you don’t make a necessary change for the sake of your own alignment and expansion. Shadow work is the fast track to change. It is a catalyst. But you need to know this going into it. If you do shadow work, it is going to point to a necessary (and sometimes this means a very difficult) change you need to make.  If you don’t want to or are not willing to make a change, either do shadow work on why you are unwilling to make a specific change or don’t do shadow work because doing shadow work when you are unwilling to make a specific change will only make things worse. Not better.

The Inner Critic is Your Friend, Not Your Enemy

Almost all of us have that little voice in or heads that spends its time judging and criticizing us. It is the one that tells us how we messed up, how we fall short, and what we did that was bad and wrong and what is not acceptable about us. Most people mistake this voice for all of themselves, as opposed to a part of the complex system of their psyche. Because the ‘self-critic’ can cause so many problems and be so detrimental to our wellbeing, it is tempting to think of it as an enemy that constantly lives with you; and in your own skin. And because of this, the world is full of methods for standing up to your inner critic and fighting against your inner critic and ignoring your inner critic and negating and minimizing your inner critic. The problem is that these methods don’t work. They will never work. They will never work because believe it or not, the inner critic is not against you. It is actually powerfully for you. It is trying its very best to protect you. And unless you understand this, you will add to your own suffering, increase your self-hate and intensify the internal war within yourself.
To understand the inner critic, you need to know that organisms that belong to the animal kingdom, including humans, find pain and stress that they cannot control and that are therefore unpredictable and out of their hands, so painful and terrorizing that they will often take their control back by being the one or by being the first to cause their own pain. You see this clearly with studies done relative to self-injury. When injury is inflicted on animals in a setting where there is no way to get away from that injury, such as electroshocks, they will often begin to self-injure. This restores a sense of control over pain. So, the principle is: self-inflicted pain is safer and more tolerable than pain inflicted by someone else, especially someone upon whom your life depends.
As a child, if you want your needs to be met, survive in society and have a chance at feeling things like love, belonging, contribution, and safety, you only have one option: To adopt the values, rules and standards of the family and society that you are born into. And hold yourself to them. 
To understand this, I’ll give you an example, let’s say that when you were younger you got angry. And imagine that you were raised in a family that sees anger as bad and wrong. The adults in your environment would immediately react by turning against your anger. They would do this in order to discourage you from being angry. They might do something like send you to your room for a timeout or immediately become defensive and shame you for being angry or dole out a consequence like taking away one of your toys. The experience of disapproval is painful enough for a child, whose survival and every need they have is dependent on the adults in their life, that the child wants to avoid this experience in the future at all costs. In response, what you would do in order to be able to control avoiding it in the future is that you would adopt the social value of not getting angry and you would make it your own standard for yourself. You internalize societal values, rules and standards and begin to police yourself so that you stay in alignment with them. After that day, any time you feel anger creeping up, or if you get angry, you will begin to police yourself before anyone else has the chance to do so. You remind yourself of how bad and wrong your anger is. You remind yourself of how sub-par it makes you as a person. You beat other people to the punch and disapprove of yourself. 
In the best-case scenario, you will either manage to do this quick enough so as to discourage yourself from doing whatever might cause you to meet with disapproval. In the worst-case scenario, you might do whatever causes you to meet with disapproval, but instead of meeting with the full force of their disapproval, you can decrease the consequences by demonstrating clearly that you don’t stand by what you did and that you know it is bad and wrong and therefore won’t happen again.
This part of you that takes on the role of this internal police officer that keeps you in line so that you don’t align with anything that would lead to disapproval and the painful societal consequences of disapproval, is your inner critic. It is a part of you that is trying to protect you. And so, you could consider it your most inverted advocate.
The inner critic is a protector personality within the complex system of your psyche. It is actually trying to save your life, help you to avoid consequences and keep it so that you can get your needs met. Just like a police officer serves to keep people in alignment with human society, the inner critic is trying to keep you in alignment with other people. It is trying desperately to uphold your values and standards… Both those that are true to you and those that you adopted from other people in your social environment. The inner critic is the one that holds the truth of what matters most to you. 
For example, perhaps what someone in your life rejected about you was that you were so sensitive. The self-critic will then constantly criticize and shame you for being sensitive. If you don’t stop being so sensitive, it will escalate and its negative feedback will become more and more intense. It may even turn into shame, whereby you begin to triangulate yourself internally against the part of yourself that is sensitive. Your inner critic does this because it thinks that with enough disapproval of it, you will either stop being that way or be motivated to fix it. And this will get you the sense of belonging and safety that you want. In this example, the truth this self-critic aspect holds, is just how important belonging and safety are to you and how much you need those things. 
It is tempting to think that the inner critic is self-sabotaging. In reality, there is no such thing as genuine self-sabotage. Any part of you that appears to be ‘sabotaging’ you, is a part of you that thinks it is actually doing the best thing for you. To understand this concept in depth, watch my video titled: There Is No Such Thing as Self Sabotage.
You will get nowhere when it comes to getting the inner critic to see that what it is doing doesn’t work in your life today. And you will get nowhere when it comes to getting your inner critic to change the way it functions within you, unless you really, really put focus into understanding it. You must understand how and when it was created by you. How it being created was for your benefit at the time, what its motives are for saying what it says and what its intentions are for saying what it says. You also have to consciously examine your relationship to those values and standards and rules that the inner critic represents. As well as consciously examine the current reality of the consequences it is trying to help you avoid. For this reason, the best thing you can do is to do parts work directly with the part of you that is your inner critic. To learn how to do this, watch my video titled: Parts Work (What Is Parts Work and How to Do It).
When you work directly with your inner critic, you will see just how benevolent and well intentioned this part of you is. You will also be able to show it how the way that it is going about protecting you may not be effective and might even be causing you worse pan than the consequence it is trying to police you into avoiding. You can end the adversarial relationship that you have with that little critical voice inside your own head. You can end the adversarial relationship that it has with any other parts of you that it thinks will lead to you getting disapproved of as well. The outcome of this allied relationship with your inner critic is the true inner peace you are looking for. A sense of internal support, alliance and self-esteem instead of internal war, judgement and criticism.
Your inner critic actually needs to be (and deserves to be) understood, respected, loved, recognized and valued for what it is trying to do for you. And this understanding, respect and positive recognition will be necessary in order to create any pliability within this part of you, regarding its willingness to change its perspective and methods. Whenever you are working with your inner critic, you need to figure out what valued and needed things that the self-critic is holding the truth of in any given situation where it is being noisy. As well as the truth of the consequences it is afraid of. Examine those values and needs consciously. If you consciously stand by them, get those things directly and from the people and in the places that you can actually get them from. Examine those consequences. Are they real or are they not real anymore? Given the answer you arrive at, how does that change things?
Do not ignore, stand up to, fight against, negate or minimize the voice of your inner critic. By doing so, you are turning against a protector within yourself. You are causing pain to a part of yourself that is fighting for your wellbeing. You are missing the opportunity to find out what value or standard or need your inner critic is fighting to keep you in alignment with. You are remaining ignorant of what consequence it is trying to help you to avoid. You are resisting a part of yourself, thereby creating rigidity instead of pliability within yourself. And you are treating this part of yourself as an enemy instead of as what it is… a friend.

The ‘My Planet’ Game

Differences can make for painful incompatibilities. But differences can also make for healthy compatibilities that lead to all kinds of positive things. When we are suffering as a result of the differences between ourselves and other people, it is tempting to think that if everyone was just like us, there would be no problems in the world. For this reason, it is good to do awareness exercises so that you can clearly see your positives and negatives, strengths and weakness, what you possess and what you lack and also the danger of there being no counter energies to your own character traits, perspectives and values. One of the best exercises for this is a little game I like to play with people called the “My Planet” game. What’s great about this game is that even though it will challenge your ego, it is also really fun to do. 
To play this game, imagine that you had your own planet or place or environment where all there is, is people who are exactly like you. People with the same values, same priorities, same interests, same likes and dislikes, same perspectives and opinions, same personality, same strengths, same weaknesses etc. Some people I’ve played with like to imagine that there was a mass migration process that took place on earth whereby everyone migrated to an area that was inhabited by only the people who were exactly like them. And you explore the reality of what this planet or place or environment would be like.
To play this game correctly, you have to be really, really honest about yourself. It is tempting to answer what you would want your planet to be like. This exercise is not about what you would want the planet of only people like you to be like. This exercise is about the reality of what it would be like given the reality of who you are and what you are really like. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have other people play this game with you. So that they can chime in about what they think your planet would be like. Just make sure that you play with people who know you and who will actually be honest about both the wonders and dangers of you as a person. This is not a validation exercise. This is an awareness exercise. 
When you play this game, be sure to consider things like:
What kinds of terrain or landscape is your planet comprised of? What is the weather like?  What kind of dwellings do your people live in? What building materials are they made of? What kind of buildings are there, if any and how are they organized or placed? If the people who are like you were their own race or species, what would the people look like? How tall or short are they? How human-like are they? What are their eyes like? What color is their skin? Describe your people.  What is the personality/character of the people on your planet like? And how does that effect the way people interact and live on your planet?  What do people wear on your planet, if anything? What kind of sounds/music are on your planet, if any. What kinds of smells are on your planet? What is the dynamic between men and women on your planet? Are there any differences between them? Do they have a different place/role in society?  What is the process of reproduction like on your planet? How are children raised on your planet? Do people live alone or together?  Do the people form monogamous bonds or marriages? If not, what type of relationships do you see between people? What is sex like on your planet? How do people spend their time on your planet? What are the top five values of the people on your planet in order of priority and how does that effect the way that people spend their time and also the way that society itself is organized?  What fulfills and motivates the people on your planet? What type of government or rule system exists on your planet? How is conflict between individuals handled on your planet? What kind of animal life inhabits the planet and what does the relationship between the people and the animals look like? Are there pets?  What kind of plant life inhabits the planet and what does the relationship between the people and the plant life look like? What is the mineral life like on your planet? And what is the relationship between the people and minerals like? What do people eat? How do they get it? How is it grown or made? What is their relationship to the food they eat? What type of work, hobbies and/or sports do the people on your planet have? Are there any social gatherings? If so, what do they look like and when do they happen and what purpose do they serve?  What types of transportation are used on your planet? How do people on your planet communicate? What languages do they speak, if any? What’s the hierarchical structure of the society? Is there one?  Is there any spiritual or religious element to your planet, if so, what does it look like?  What is the system of economy or trade on your planet? How do people go about getting what they need? Are there any holidays or specific traditions on your planet? What is the main fuel source on your planet? What is the biggest source of stress on your planet? How long do the people on your planet live? How do they die? What is the greatest threat to your planet? What about the culture/society on your planet is the best? What about your culture/society is the worst? What about your culture/society could bring about its own downfall? What things of value could you offer to other planets or other cultures? Do people stay on your planet or in their own area, or do they explore other planets and cultures and places? How progressive is your planet? Or does it stay the same across generations? What is the technology on your planet like, if any? And what is the relationship between the people and the technology like? How does your planet get along with or interact with other planets and the cultures and resources to be found there? What is the attitude towards outsiders? Or does your planet and people keep to itself?    And relative to each one of these questions, make sure to explore WHY.
You don’t have to limit yourself to these questions only, in fact any question that you could possibly come up with in addition to this list that I have come up with for you, will simply enhance and deepen your own self-awareness.
So that you can understand how this game goes, I’m going to give you two different examples done by two different people:
The first example is: Corinna 
If there was a culture of people only like me, Corinna, it would be a planet full of warriors. The nature would be Amazonian like, lush and beautiful. However the climate would be rather cold. We live in open, small houses that are functional and natural elements are incorporated with the houses. It is common that a house is built around a tree, so the tree is both inside and outside the home. There are separate dwellings close to one another. The only other buildings we have besides homes are venues for gathering and venues for sport. The culture would be quite similar to the Amazons that Wonder Woman comes from. It is all about capability. In order of importance, our values are: Capability, strength, mastery, camaraderie and sport. There would be every kind of war sport imaginable played on the planet. It would be a matriarchal society. We speak only one language and all of us communicate a lot and the conflicts we can’t solve by talking talk, we solve by physically fighting. It smells like mud, dirt and blood on my planet. There is no music unless it is intentional for war or sport. There are nature sounds all around us. Especially primal animal noises.
We spend all of our time mastering skills and getting better at our specific role within society. There is no art without a purpose on our planet. Such as design for armor so as to enhance the effectiveness of the armor.        
There is a clear and strict but fair hierarchy based off of women proving themselves in order to hold the power. There are meetings to decide things, but the person with the highest rank still gets the final say. Every individual can bring their desires to the table and speak for them. You can make a case for yourself. But those higher up in status can make the decision. All the humans on the planet would be very tall.  rather like Vikings. 
Men have a lower status than women. They would exist to do the women’s bidding and to pleasure them, but they would be happy that their life purpose is to serve the women. Sex would be primal and the women would both initiate and dominate the men sexually. There are certain roles in the culture. So, based on your natural talents and desires and societal agreement, a certain woman may be granted the right to bear a child. And if this is the case, a certain male is selected and intentional breeding takes place. The mother is responsible for the child. But the child belongs to the society and the child’s development is guided by everyone in the society. 
The women would wear armor made out of steel and metal. The men would wear simple linen. We would thrive on proving ourselves in order to belong and to not be thrown out of society. There would be rites of passage. Meaning that you have to pass tests in order to become an adult or to take a specific position. 
Our bodies could take bullets without being killed by them. We would be preoccupied with our survival. It wouldn’t be a spiritual, esoteric, or superstitious culture. We are all physically oriented. There would be no holidays or off/leisure time. Our fulfilment would come only from work and purpose, which we would dedicate every second of every day to. We are all dedicated to becoming better and better and better and to competing with one another to see how good we are.   
Riding animals is how we get around. That and walking. But only big, predatory ones and mystical ones, like dragons and lions with wings. And we must tame and ride them, or die. And if I’m honest, even though I am vegan, going just off of my personality, it would be a culture that would both hunt and gather. And we would eat and use literally all parts of anything that we hunt or gather.
The main fuel source on our planet is man power. We didn’t harness anything like the sun or the coal or anything else. It’s a primitive culture in many ways, but we are all very intelligent, otherwise we don’t survive. Our technology is simple and very physical, like a way more powerful version of the technology that existed in the 15oos. 
We would live in harmony with any one of us that deserved respect because they earned it. We would be a culture that is likely to start a war with other planets for fun and we would also win that war. It’s possible that people reach the age of 100. But only the very best and only if they succeed their childhood rites of passage and only if they pass every test. If someone gets sick or injured, but they have the will to live, we do caretake them with holistic medicine. We could offer other cultures structure, skills, superior products, fighting skills, and military back up for wars. Outsiders have to prove themselves to gain our trust. We are open to them, but guarded. We only travel to other cultures if we need them to accomplish an aim of ours. Or if we want to start a war for fun.   
The main problem with my planet is that it is harsh, we are constantly competing and fighting and we have to prove ourselves every single day, so there is no real security or relaxation in our society. The best thing about my planet is that everything is very clear and straightforward and honorable. We have a great sense of purpose.  
The second example is: Tristen
If there were a culture of people only like me, Tristen, we would live up in the clouds, isolated from all other cultures. Individuals from other cultures sometimes are granted access to our society for the purpose of sanctuary, healing and rejuvenation. It is cold, but we keep the interior of our cities the perfect temperature and humidity for physical health. The weather doesn’t really change. Within this land of clouds there is a single strand underneath that connects to the earth. We would only go down to the ground, if there was something there that we absolutely needed. And only a few of us that are adventurers would be brave enough to do that for the rest of us. We make our buildings out of a transcalent substance not found on earth.  
We are small people, fragile and thin boned. Fairy like. Pale skin. Slanted eyes that can come in all different colors. All different colors of hair. We wear flowing silks made of only organic materials. The sound of harp music is playing softly in the background from sun up until the sun goes down. The cities are full of the calming smell of flowers, like lavender, rose and orange Jasmin.    
We live in apartments within a palace, “sky city”. They are delicate and beautiful. Almost everything is pastel and very aesthetic from the decor to the food. Every building has silk curtains that flow in the wind and pillars. Crystals are everywhere and we talk to them; we live in symbioses with them. We care a great deal about wellbeing and nurturing the body, emotions, mind and spirit. We have the best and most elaborate spas in the universe. 
Everyone eats raw vegan. We grow our food in hanging gardens. We turn whatever dish we are eating into a beautiful, intricate work of art. There are edible gardens everywhere. Birds and cats are the main animal inhabitants of our sky cities. There are also many predatory animals in our world that our people hide from, which is one reason that we went up into the clouds.    
Wings and walking are our form of transportation. We invented wings that we can strap onto ourselves if we want to go anywhere. But we stay inside most of the time and admire the view. 
There is no system of governing. All of us are like a school of fish in that there is no disagreement, there is a connection to what is best for all. There is no self-generated thought. And our free will does not oppose the cosmos. It is spiritually deterministic. There is almost no conflict. And if there is, each of us talks ourselves out of it, so that there is alignment.   
Men and women live separately and are equal. They live separate lives except for specific times in the week, where they come together. Sex can only take place on certain days of the year, in alignment with the cycles of the universe. Regarding conception, the men and the women pair off in rooms of a specific part of the palace at a specific time when the astrology is in a certain arrangement so as to allow for a spirit to come through us into the physical. The man chooses the woman that he knows he is a match to (there is no such thing as two men wanting the same woman) and leads her into the chamber with the intention of making love to her, and being open to the universe creating conception. 
If a pregnancy does occur, a flying squid-like being lands on the stomach of the woman and tells the society what that child will be like and what it’s purpose will be. The child is born in a dark, intimate setting with only the woman and man present. Unless there is trouble, in which case, a midwife enters the room. Since the personality and purpose of the child is known, their entire upbringing is already decided upon before birth and is the responsibility of both parents to carry out. The way that people learn on the planet is through a system of mentorship.   
Every second of our lives is lived with spirituality in mind. It is a culture where the nonphysical and physical come together. We are the studiers of the cosmos. Almost everyone is an artist. Our fuel source is a magic cosmic energy. 
Our top values are: Spirituality, beauty, health, serenity and duty. We all tend to be reserved and serious. There is a sadness to each of us, but none of us know exactly why it is there. Even though duty is important to us, it is important that no one is forcing themselves to do anything. And so, we take time to nourish and nurture ourselves if we need to. 
My planet is always at risk of attack because it is defenseless and is the most unrelatable to others. This potential for attack is our greatest source of stress. We can offer other cultures an awareness about the universe and cosmos, revolutionary health treatments, artisan goods, rejuvenation, rehabilitation and our famous spas.   
The main problem with my planet is that we are frail, ungrounded, isolated and closed off, passive, not very progressive and everything is predetermined. The best part about my planet is: We are in-tune with everything around us, we are deliberate, everything is beautiful, everyone is healthy and there is almost no conflict.     
Reflect upon the outcome of this game once you have played it. How do you feel about the outcome? What does it tell you about yourself? What does it tell you about the way that you come across to others? What does it tell you about your own character traits, your perspectives, your values, your positives and negatives, your strengths and weaknesses, what you possess and what you lack? And what is the danger of there being no counter energies to your own dominant character traits? Where is the imbalance? Can you identify what differences (or different kinds of people) you may need to be around in order to be healthy and happy? Having done this exercise, what do you appreciate most about yourself? And is there anything you want to change about yourself?
In order for humanity to become healthy, instead of dividing further, humanity at large would benefit by borrowing from and becoming the very best of each individual culture. Imagine a humanity that has the enterprise of the Americans and the passion of the Italians and the precision of the Germans and the affection of the Brazilians etc. If we get into reality about compatibilities and incompatibilities, we can create an arrangement between us that is the exalted form of the integration of our differences. The same goes for the more microcosmic level of individual people and the way their differences enrich in each other’s lives. Having done this exercise, how do you enrich other people’s lives? And how do they enrich yours?

The Importance of Keeping Your Word

One of the principles of so many spiritual paths and so many self-development paths is to be conscious relative to your word. It is a principle that crosses so many disciplines because it is so true and because it is so important. Being conscious relative to your word involves all kinds of commitments. Commitments such as being honest and speaking truth, having integrity regarding your words and actions, speaking in a way that aligns you with what you desire, using your words as a powerful tool for conscious and intentional creation, saying only what you mean, and being conscious that words can either be used as a negative weapon or as a tool for positivity, love and truth etc. But today, we are going to talk about just one of these commitments relative to your word and that is: Keeping your word.
To keep your word means to act in alignment with what you say. It also means to be consistent regarding what you say. People who keep their word stick to and follow through on their word. They remember what they say. They honor what they say. They send a consistent message that is predictable and that can be relied upon. They keep their promises. They do what they say they are going to do. They treat their word like a powerful commitment.
People who don’t keep their word are inconsistent regarding what they say. They don’t stick to or honor what they say. They conveniently forget what they said. They break their word. They break their promises. Their actions don’t match their words. They don’t follow through on their words with actions and they don’t do what they say they are going to do. They do not take words seriously. They don’t understand the power of their words, nor do they treat their word as a commitment. They can take it back or change their word at any time. And they will usually either completely deny that they ever said what they did say or they always have an excuse as to why they didn’t keep their word.
Some examples of not keeping your word are: Saying you will be somewhere at a certain time and arriving late. Saying you will do a task and not doing it. Reassuring someone that something bad will not happen and then it happens (false reassurance). Overcommitting yourself so you don’t make sure you have enough time to do what you’ve said you would do. Making a promise and breaking it. Saying one thing one minute and a completely different thing the next. Saying that you believe in something or value something when your actions demonstrate the opposite. Saying something and then forgetting or denying that you said it. Saying something that you don’t mean, especially if you expect a person to know you didn’t mean it. And wavering regarding what you say instead of being solid and consistent regarding what you say etc.
It is a bit ironic, seeing as how keeping your word is SUCH an important element of awareness and personal development and relationships, that so many people in the spiritual community struggle with keeping their word. But they do. Especially since people who turn to spirituality tend to have a lot of relational trauma. And also, because many people skew the spiritual principles regarding following your own emotional guidance system. Many people justify breaking their word by saying that what they committed to with their word just doesn’t feel good anymore, so they have to go back on or change what they said. And they don’t treat it like a serious thing when they do this. Instead, they act like it is controlling and un-awakened to expect them to follow through on something that no longer feels good and right. 
Keeping your word and becoming a person who keeps their word is absolutely critical. It is critical for your relationships with other people. It is critical for your relationship with yourself. It is critical for your personal life wellbeing and success. It is also critical for your “karma”. Here is how: If you do not keep your word in your relationships with other people, you will eventually not have any close relationships. You will have demonstrated that you do not hold yourself to standards of conduct. You will have demonstrated that you care more about your own personal happiness and whims than you do about the pain of others. You will have demonstrated that you do not value your relationships and even that you do not value the people you are in a relationship with. You will have demonstrated yourself to be a person who lacks Integrity and honor. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Integrity (What is Integrity and How To Build Integrity). You will have demonstrated that you cannot be relied upon and that you cannot be trusted. This is very, very serious because trust is the holy grail of successful relationships. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Trust (What Is Trust and How to Build Trust in Relationships). You will be seen as an unsafe person. You will ruin the way that other people will see you, most especially you will lose their respect. And on the road to this ultimate loss, you will have created non-stop conflict in all of your relationships. 
If you don’t keep your word, you are setting yourself up to have a bad relationship with yourself. This inconsistency teaches you to distrust yourself. You will learn that you can’t rely on yourself. You will eventually internalize the reflection you are getting from everyone else: that you are not a good person, that you constantly mess up and cause problems and are therefore a liability, that you are not valued or respected, that you have no honor and that you deserve to be rejected instead of wanted. And you will feel a nagging sense of guilt, no matter how much you may defend yourself and your actions. At a deep level, you know this behavior is not right and is not good. So, your own core self-concept will be that of shame. 
If you don’t keep your word, you are sabotaging your own personal wellbeing and success. I’ll give you an example to illustrate this point: Alex always wanted to work at a specific design company. Because he had an impressive resume and attitude, he got hired onto the team. But he had a nasty habit of breaking his word whenever it suited him to do so. The first time he didn’t keep his word, he said he would have his design concepts turned in by the end of the week. Instead, he turned them in two weeks later. Because of this, their corporate client had to wait longer than what the company had promised. It made everyone else on the team cautious of Alex. The second time, he said that he would fly to Vegas to represent the team at a conference. But the day before he had to actually board a plane, he announced that if he went, he could not have a necessary report that he had agreed to do, done until a week after he got back. Again, this put the company in a bind. After that, every time his name came up as a potential collaborator on projects, every one of his colleagues opposed the idea and ruled him out. At that point, Alex had unknowingly been identified as a potential problem by his boss. He was under scrutiny. The third time, like all other company employees, he committed to attending an annual benefit. When the group shuttle arrived to take them to the benefit, Alex was nowhere to be found. Nor was he answering his phone. When he arrived to work the next morning, he admitted to being late. But he made the excuse that he thought it would be weird to show up late at the place by himself, so he just decided not to go… And he was fired on the spot. Alex had demonstrated with repeat offenses, that he could not be relied upon to keep his word and was thus a liability to the rest of the company instead of an asset. It’s easy to see how by not keeping his word, he sabotaged his own personal success. And Alex felt like absolute crap after this. Because he was fired, he was short on his mortgage. He had to move cities because there were no job opportunities where he lived. He developed a bad reputation, so he couldn’t use his boss at the most impressive job he had ever had as a reference. He liked his next job much less than the last. And because he had to move cities, his girlfriend, who was going to school at an ivy league college, broke up with him because she didn’t want a long-distance relationship. After all, he had promised her that he would stay in the city so they could be together. He broke that promise too.
If you don’t keep your word, you are in for a world of hurt karmically. When I say karmically, what I really mean is that you live in a world that operates according to the law of mirroring (what many call the law of attraction) and also the law of cause and effect. The way to conceptualize it is to imagine that what you think, the words you say and the actions you take are like a stone dropped into water. The ripples spread outward, affecting anything in their path. When you do not keep your word, you are creating pain. Those ripples of pain hit anyone effected by you not keeping your word. You not keeping your word will be a cause that has devastating effects, effects that like Alex found out, will result in you being in pain. And in a universe managed by the law of mirroring, you will get back and see manifested anything you give off. If you are in the vibrational state of not keeping your word, you will be a match to people, places, things and circumstances that vibrate at that same frequency. Things like other people breaking their word with you. Things like not being able to rely on anyone or anything and being let down. Things like loss of relationships. Things like unsafety. Things like drowning in conflict. Things like inconsistency. Things like a bad reputation. Things like words being used as a weapon against you. Things like flipping. Things like being pushed away and aloneness. Things like deception. Things like disapproval, rejection and disrespect. Etc. It is a dangerous karmic game to not keep your word. As you can see, breaking your word comes at a heavy, heavy cost. Not one that you would actually be willing to pay. Being aware of that cost should make you not only aware of what you’re saying, but also careful about what you say. 
It is not that people who keep their word never ever break their word. The reality is that they rarely ever do. But if they do, they know that what they are doing is very serious and has serious implications for themselves and others. They actively talk and act in a way that demonstrates that they are aware of the seriousness of breaking their word. And they go to great lengths to take responsibility for and try to remedy the negative impact of breaking their word. And they do not expect other people to be ok with taking responsibility for and absorbing the negative impact of them not keeping their word. For example, Bob is someone who keeps his word. He got a call that his mother is in the hospital. He signed up to oversee a national volleyball competition. Bob makes the decision that he needs to go to the hospital to be with his mother because it is a situation important enough to warrant him breaking his word about overseeing the volleyball competition. But he is very aware that just because it is an important enough reason to break his word, that doesn’t make it ok for him to break his word. He is aware that breaking his word will cause big problems for people and it could cause people to change the way they see him. So, he immediately takes responsibility for finding the next best solution. He takes responsibility for the fallout. As he is driving to the hospital, he comes up with solutions before he calls anyone to tell them that he has to break his word. He decides upon a person who can take over his role. When he calls the other people who are depending on him to give them the bad news, he apologizes profusely. And he offers the solutions he came up with. He also tells them that he will leave his phone on day and night and will make himself available to answer any questions they can’t answer. Bob is aware of the seriousness of breaking his word and so, he does so very, very rarely. And the way that Bob conducts himself on the very rare occasion that he does break his word, suggests and reaffirms that you can rely on him to keep his word.
If you are someone who doesn’t keep your word, you were most likely raised in an environment where word was mistreated. Just like people can become normalized to abuse and then become abusive themselves, if you struggle to keep your word, it usually means other people, especially those you modeled your own behavior after, didn’t keep their word with you. You became normalized to people breaking their word. You may have forgotten or numbed yourself out to how much pain that gave you. When children get wounded by a behavior that they can’t get adults to change, they decide they have to adapt to it. The way children often adapt to adults that don’t keep their word is to let go of the idea that people will or even should keep their word. This way, they don’t feel the pain of needing something that they will never get. They won’t feel as let down and disappointed and afraid if they expect people to break their word. And with this, they often decide that words just don’t matter. And they adapt the behavior of breaking their word too. For this reason, it’s very important to re-connect with and remember the pain of other people breaking their word with you in the past. And commit to not following in the footsteps of those who hurt you so badly.
On top of this, breaking your word can be a protest behavior if you struggle with enmeshment. Some people who struggle to feel their autonomy in relationships experience commitment (including commitment to what they say and promise) as being trapped. For people like this, breaking their word causes them to feel free and autonomous and like they can live according to their own whims and feels a sense of their identity and empowered. To the contrary, keeping their word makes them feel tied down, controlled, like they are carrying the weight of other people’s wellbeing, like they are being forced to live a life where they can’t make changes and instead have to do things they don’t want to do on principle. As well as begrudging and resentful. They are actually looking for others to make them feel free and empowered and autonomous by making it ok for them to break their word. They are looking for people who will not hold them to their word. In fact, they call this “loving”. They don’t want to have to keep their word if doing so causes them any pain. And so, if they were to keep their word, instead of seeing it as something that they, themselves are making themselves do, they feel like they are being “forced” to keep their word against their will. For this reason, it may benefit you to watch my video titled: How To Heal Family Enmeshment Trauma.
By committing to being conscious relative to your word, and with that, keeping your word, you will be looking at a life where your relationships improve and also deepen. You will be respected. You will develop a positive reputation for being someone who is strong and honorable. Someone who can be trusted and relied upon. You will feel better about yourself and trust yourself as your self-respect, self-worth and integrity rises. Your guilt and shame will dissipate. You will be much more intentional about your words and what you say and what you commit to and what impact they have. This will make you much more careful and deliberate about your communication and this prevents misunderstanding and miscommunication. And so, you will become a much better communicator. It will also make you much more deliberate about what you commit to and say yes and no to. Keeping your word will bring you to personal success. And it will ensure that the law of cause and effect and the law of mirroring will be kind to you, instead of cruel. Just like there are costs for breaking your word, there are rewards for keeping your word. Rewards that are worth holding yourself accountable to your word for.
Words are powerful. They are a powerful element of manifestation. Words hold within them the power of creation. You can use it against yourself and against others and against the life you want or you can use it for yourself and for others and for the life you want. How you use the power of the word is entirely up to you. But words have a powerful effect. The question is, are you causing the effect that you want to have with them?

The “Oopsie, I’m Sorry” Power Play

Many of us struggle to maintain our sense of power in relationships. As a result, we develop all kinds of strategies for doing so. And this often leads to both overt and covert power struggles within our relationships. Today, we are going to be talking about one of these strategies for getting power in relationships. It is a pattern that I like to call the “Oopsie, I’m Sorry” power play.
So that you can understand this pattern, I’m going to start off by walking you through an example. Chase’s parents divorced when he was really young. His mother decided to hit her ex-husband where it hurts and fought him for full custody of Chase and his younger brother. As a result, Chase grew up in a home with an emotionally cold, highly competitive, narcissistic, high powered business executive for a mother. Chase learned that his needs and wants did not matter. The only way to stay safe in his childhood was to comply to whatever his mother wanted. He became highly enmeshed as a result. Chase learned that any time he brought up his needs and wants, he would be shut down because his mother would not accommodate them. As a result, his only way of getting power in his life and in his relationship with her was to simply do exactly what he wanted and either apologize profusely later, or act like it was a mistake. He did this so often that Chase’s mother began to see him as a bit of a screw up. She was very disappointed in him. But even though it hurt, Chase kept up this strategy because when his mother saw him as a screw up, she failed to see that he was simply doing things without her consent. She also started to expect less of him and so he was out from under the pressure of her expectations. Besides, Chase cared more about finding a way to be able to do whatever he wanted to do than he cared about his mother’s approval. Afterall, she spent most of her time gone on business trips anyway. 
Today however, Chase continues to use this rebellious strategy. As a result, no one takes him seriously. No one in his life can rely upon him to caretake their best interests as opposed to just acting in his own best interests. When he apologizes for doing things, he gaslights everyone into thinking that he didn’t mean to and that it was just a mistake. He also asks for forgiveness only to do whatever he apologized for again the next day. So, people are wondering if he is stupid despite the fact that Chase often demonstrates very clear intelligence. Down deep, the people around Chase feel manipulated because they are being manipulated. And eventually, Chase loses because this strategy ruins relationships and his own success in the long term.
Have you ever heard the phrase “ask for forgiveness rather than permission”? This phrase perfectly represents the idea behind this passive aggressive power play. This power play is when someone does exactly what they want to do, regardless of the negative impact on others; and plays it off once they are confronted on it by apologizing or by making the other party think that it was an unintended mistake… an oopsie. They expect that by apologizing or by pretending that it was a mistake, that they will be immediately forgiven and the conflict will go away. They expect that they got away with it. 
People who use this passive aggressive power play to the extreme often don’t care if people think they are stupid or incompetent if it means getting their way. It’s a lose-lose but it’s still a clear choice for them. And some people even go so far as to deliberately craft the perception that they are stupid, so that they can maintain the power in this way. You’ve probably seen this strategy employed by the hero in an action film at least once because playing dumb causes people to see you as an annoyance rather than a threat. It lets you get away with things. And this makes sense because being seen as a threat often has such extreme consequences. People who are employing this power strategy are looking to do what they want and to get away with it rather than face the consequences they imagine would befall them if they were straightforward about their own best interests in any scenario, including what they want and need. 
This strategy usually works because of the societal belief that we are only good and right if we forgive those who apologize. And we are only good and right if we make allowances for mistakes. And we are only good and right if we lower our expectations as well as the amount of pressure we put on others when we are dealing with someone who is either incompetent or stupid. This means, not only can the person employing this strategy get away with doing exactly what they want regardless of the negative impact on others, they can also get away with making you the bad guy, or the asshole or the one in the wrong if you don’t let them get away with it.
So that you can understand this pattern even better, I’ll give you another example. Brittany likes to shop… a lot. She feels that it should be a husband’s duty to provide for his wife. And to provide well. She hates that her husband Jason controls how much money she can spend on their household credit card. They have gotten in so many fights about the fact that consistently, when Jason reviews the household expenses at the end of each month, he finds all kinds of unnecessary expenses for things that Brittany has purchased. Every month, Brittany feels shame and says that she is sorry that she did it and apologizes profusely and says it was a mistake and promises to stop buying stuff compulsively and running up their debt. But every month, she does the exact same thing. Brittany is proving to be unworkable. Jason doesn’t know if she’s stupid or has some uncontrollable shopping addiction or what. Really, Brittany wants to shop and expects Jason to enable her to do that. But she doesn’t want to get into a direct conflict about it. She feels she will lose that fight and not be able to shop. So, she continues to get away with it by continuing to shop and apologizing or saying it was a mistake later.
The “oopsie, I’m sorry” power play is a deceptive and gaslighting strategy. It does often enable a person to get away with their own personal agenda at first. But once people recognize it as a pattern, you’re in trouble. Either they will lose respect for you and think you’re an incompetent idiot. Or they will decide that you can’t be trusted with anything because you can’t keep your word or be trusted to caretake and consider their best interests; even when they directly tell you what their best interests are. Or they will be able to feel below the surface deception and see that you are sneakily acting narcissistically in your own best interests, regardless of their best interests and you are trying to get away with it. So, using an American expression, they will see you as a little weasel. 
The “oopsie, I’m sorry” power play is a self-sabotaging strategy. But there is no such thing as genuine self-sabotage. The aspect of a person that employs this strategy thinks that doing so is actually in their best interests, not against them. The thing is, this aspect usually does not see the consequences of doing so. Specifically, it does not see that this strategy sabotages your relationships. It also sabotages your success. If you demonstrate yourself to be someone who will do whatever you want, no matter the negative consequences to someone else, no one will stay in any kind of relationship with you. If you demonstrate yourself to be unable to keep your word, no one will trust you. If you demonstrate yourself to be incompetent, stupid or passively belligerent, no one will feel like they can rely on you and so you can expect to be fired from jobs, never taken seriously, left out of things, put into positions of inferiority, and considered a liability instead of an asset by others. 
If you are someone who uses this strategy, it is important to see the price that you will be paying to get away with passive aggressively getting your way. It is critical to clearly see how important it is to go for your best interests, wants and needs in an honest, direct, straightforward and upfront way. This means communicating about them so that you can find a meeting of minds with the people whom might be impacted by you getting your way; before you act. 
Many people with this pattern have developed a codependent relationship style, where they feel that if two people’s best interests are opposing each other, there is no point to discuss it before an action is taken; because there is no room in a scenario like this for a meeting of minds. Instead, they think it is an automatic zero-sum game. If they bring up their wants and needs, they will either lose their relationship or the answer will be no, so it will mean that they will either be abandoned or not get what they want and need. They think that talking it out or standing for what they want and need leads to them losing and the other winning. Whereas if they simply act on it and pretend it’s a mistake or apologize later, they will get what they want and need (be in power) but they will also get to keep their relationship at the moment. And the other person will lose. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Why People Are Stuck in The Cycle or Either Complying or Rebelling.
Because this strategy comes from interpersonal trauma which most people incurred in their childhood, it is important if you’re struggling with this pattern to heal this trauma. I created one such process to heal this trauma. It is called The Completion Process. You can find out about it by reading the book I wrote that is titled: The Completion Process. Alternatively, you can go to Completionprocess.com and select a practitioner to lead you through it.
If you struggle with this pattern, know that a relationship is only a good one if the other person cares about your best interests and wants you to have your wants and needs met. But this does not mean that if a person loves you, they should sacrifice their own best interests, wants and needs for yours. What it means is that both of you need to master the concept and practice of communication and each really caring for the other person’s wants and needs so as to find the highest and best win-win scenario in any situation.
A big part of finding win-win scenarios is the opposite of this pattern, which is deceptive by nature. It is being very honest with yourself and very honest with the other party. That honesty highlights where genuine compatibilities and genuine incompatibilities exist. And recognizing those compatibilities and incompatibilities allows us to find the right arrangement for ourselves and others; so that we are allies to each other’s best interests, instead of antagonists to each other’s best interests.

Why People Don’t Want The Truth

As people, we have a VERY complicated relationship with the truth. Very few of us actually want it, no matter what we might say to the contrary. Very few of us truly see the actual value of truth. And the fact that truth/reality in and of itself is a hotly debated topic in philosophy circles just serves as fuel for the fire. But it is still important to understand what it is that makes us not want the truth, not value the truth and resist the truth.
Let’s begin by looking at the resistance that we, as people have to truth. Those of us who don’t want the truth, are really only resistant to truths that feel bad. We would call these ‘negative truths’. Our own life experience has shown us that negative truths always lead to something bad, like a negative consequence. A negative consequence that we feel like we can’t face, deal with or do anything to change. In general, people who are brave enough to see the truth (what is) are usually people who believe that they can do something about the truth (what is). And because those of us who don’t value the truth experience higher degrees of powerlessness, we feel powerless to do anything to prevent or resolve those bad things. Therefore, we tend to experience truth as leading to only bad things, never solutions. Of course, those consequences that we imagine will come as a result of truth may or may not actually exist. None the less, the more powerless you feel, the less ok with painful truth you will be.
To give you an example, we may have experienced our father being honest that he wasn’t in love with our mother anymore. As a result of that negative truth, he left the family and we suffered for the rest of our childhood because of it, so did everyone else in the family. And we felt powerless to it, like we couldn’t do anything about it. Or for example, we may have experienced being truthful about our jealousy towards our sister and as a result, got punished. Our other family members lost respect for us and it only created a more adversarial relationship with our sister. And so, we feel like the only way to have avoided all of that, was to never be honest about that in the first place.
Many of us simply do not understand why you would do anything (such as admit to any truth or take any action) if it leads to a consequence. And many of us hold very little to no understanding that the truth, even painful or negative truths, lead to something good. Because the proof we are looking at in our own life, points to just the opposite.
Those of us who are resistant to truth also usually come from a background of truth being used against us. Of course, this has nothing to do with truth, it has to do with being in unhealthy environments. But truth was negatively capitalized on. Truth often became a weakness to exploit. For example, if mom or dad knew the truth was that we loved a certain toy, that was the toy taken away when we didn’t comply. Or if we were honest with our teacher about having not done our homework, instead of saying the dog ate it, we were automatically labeled a problem kid and flunked. We don’t want truth to be something for others to use against our best interests.
Often, those of us who are resistant to the truth also have a very hard time discerning what is real and what is true. Confusion is common amongst us. If we are honest, in childhood, we could never really tell what the reality was. Or, we were sold the idea that something was 100% true, only to find out later (after years of believing in it) that it wasn’t. This causes us to distrust and doubt even the idea of truth. As well as doubt our own ability to perceive it, much less any one else’s.
Something very important to know about yourself, if you are someone who is resistant to the truth is that you value stability more so than other people. Chances are, you don’t even realize this about yourself. You revere stability to a degree that invites the shadow of that value into the room. We tend to be averse to complexity and want simplicity. And we experience negative truths as being de-stabilizing and destructive. Therefore, as an oppositional force to success.
The reality is the opposite. The reality is that when a negative truth destabilizes and destroys something, the structure it destroys, was not real in the first place. It was an illusion. But illusions often feel real. And that feeling of something false being real, still offers the feeling of stability. For example, a woman might have a husband who is cheating on her for her whole marriage. But the illusion that she has a good marriage, still makes her feel stable and like she has a foundation to build her life on. As opposed to seeing the truth that he is cheating and as a result, feeling her entire life is destabilized and her marriage is destroyed.
Often, those of us who are resistant to the truth do not value truth or what is real over other things… Things like stability. Things like feeling good. Things like control. And our reality is flipped. Our wires are crossed. We see truth as an oppositional force to these things, when in reality, truth is our only way of actually achieving these things. We are conditional with truth. We only want truth if it makes us feel more stable. We only want truth if it makes us feel more in control. We only want truth if it makes us feel good. This means that those of us who are resistant to truth, have a very conditional relationship with truth. And this conditional relationship that we have with truth eventually forces us to justify our conditional attitude towards truth with ideologies that oppose the idea of truth. 
Ready for the first truth bomb in this video? The spiritual field is really a giant coping mechanism. A coping mechanism is an adaptation we make that enables us to deal with a difficult environmental stress that we feel we cannot change or eliminate. Most of the spiritual tools you have learned, are in fact nothing more than coping mechanisms. And even ones that could be much more than that, can still be used as coping mechanisms. To understand more about this, I want you to watch three of my videos. The first is: Spirituality, The Great Coping Mechanism. The second is: Are You into Spirituality for Comfort or Awareness? And the third is: Novocain Spirituality.
The reality is that the gurus and spiritual teachers and the people that we revere the most are the ones who can cope with the world the best. We want to get out of stress and pain. So, we glorify and worship and idolize and hold ourselves up against the standard of these people who, unlike us, seem to not be in distress within the world at all.  But be careful, he who copes with the world the best is often the one who will do the very least to change it. Instead, he will often do the very most to teach everyone else how to cope with it.
The spiritual field is now littered with people, teachers even, who will only tell you truths that feel good. It is littered with teachers who will teach you that truth is not important. That truth and reality is an illusion. That you create your own reality. That all that matters, and even worse than that, the way to know whether something is true and right… is if it feels good. And those of us who are resistant to truth take those ideologies and distort them and resist what is and then use those ideologies to justify our conditional relationship with truth. We use them to justify entering into a narcissistic bubble reality built for one. A place where we can control literally everything and therefore make everything stable and make everything feel good.
Truth involves other people. Pretend and illusion, only involves one. Using our previous example, the truth involves not only the reality of a wife who is dedicated to a good marriage, but also the reality of a husband who is also dedicated to a good marriage. Illusion involves only the woman who is dedicated to a good marriage. She can mentally decide to look only at what she wants to see and thus create a false reality where her marriage is a great one and if she is completely committed to that perspective, nothing the husband does or doesn’t do can burst that false reality construct for her. It will feel real to her. She has total control over it, no matter what he does or doesn’t do. The fact that truth involves other people, because this time space reality is a consensus reality, makes those of us who are resistant to truth feel out of control, because we know we can’t control other people. But I cannot stress to you how dangerous this is. How out of reality it is. How mentally ill it is. And how much damage this can do. 
Those of us who are resistant to the truth can also avoid shame by avoiding truth. We tend to deliberately not take things personally and have hard time understanding that any negative truth or anything negative we are experiencing is about us. Being trapped in a bubble reality, we tend to preserve our self-concept by thinking that any negative truths or negative experiences are about others. For this reason, a great many truth resistant people watch my videos and feel like these videos are validating them. They finally understand the truth about what everyone else is doing bad/wrong. What I’m saying isn’t about them, it’s about the other people in their life. And so, they love me. They love me because they are using my content to fortify the walls of their own narcissistic bubble reality. What I’m saying isn’t personal. But wait until the day or situation where what I say makes it personal. Wait for the day I show them a negative truth about themselves. And it contradicts that stable, feel good reality they’ve built. Suddenly, overnight, they hate me… And they suddenly see that Teal Swan is destructive.
Those of us who are resistant to the truth have often forgotten the torture of having already suffered at the hands of someone, or many people, that were in their own narcissistic bubble. We have forgotten the pain of not being able to appeal to them or influence them in any way, even when our wellbeing depended on it. We have forgotten the pain of not being accommodated by them. The pain of the helplessness, powerlessness and isolation of being at their mercy. Ironically, we have never experienced this reality as a consensus reality, even though it is one. Have you ever heard the expression hurt people, hurt people? Just like someone who was once abused has the choice to feel powerful and safe by becoming the perpetrator, those of who suffer at the hands of someone who is stuck in their own narcissistic bubble reality, have the choice to become powerful and safe and in control and no longer at the mercy of anyone, by creating our own narcissistic bubble reality. But by doing so, we are unaware that we are becoming the very person who hurt us. It’s a subconscious “Because you can’t beat ‘em, the only way to feel good is to join ‘em” mentality.
When we are resistant to the truth, we only see the truth when the pain or consequences of not seeing the truth is higher than the pain and consequences of seeing the truth. And this, is a recipe for disaster. Not just for us, but for the whole world. Ironically, it means that the stability and simplicity we love, is a pipe dream. Because escalation is inevitable. If we won’t accept a negative truth, and so we do nothing about it, we will end up in a crisis. When the crisis hits, we will either realize something way after it’s too late to avoid serious consequences and suffer because of them. Or, we will simply re-frame the consequences so we don’t suffer when they occur. For example, let’s imagine that a negative truth is that human beings are on the way to making the surface of the earth uninhabitable for themselves and millions of other species. Do you know how bad it has to get for a person to swallow that truth if they are only willing and able to see the truth when the pain or consequences of not seeing the truth are higher than the pain and consequences of doing so? Far beyond the point of no return. We may suffer when this happens, or tell ourselves a story that positively re-frames the consequences so we don’t feel the true impact of them. This mentality of needing the pain and consequence of not seeing a truth to outweigh the pain and consequence of seeing it, sets us up to never be able to face and deal with negative truths when they are very small. Truths have to turn into unmanageable tsunamis first. Thereby re-enforcing our belief that truth is a destabilizing, destructive force.
Those of us who are resistant to the truth, want there to be no consequences for truth. The reality is that no one wants negative consequences. But we live in a reality where one of the governing laws is the law of cause and effect. This means literally everything has a consequence. And the best we can do, is to choose those consequences consciously. If you don’t choose them, they will simply happen to you. If you want to learn more about this, watch my video titled: Why You Should Consciously Choose Consequences. Those of us who are resistant to the truth see that the truth can lead to and cause painful consequences. But we are not often aware of (and are not playing out) how illusion can lead to and cause pain. In fact, even more so.
We have a hard time with truth because we want something different than what is. We want to create something new and different from what is. This isn’t a problem. This is actually a beautiful thing. The problem is when we are in denial of what is and when we are in resistance to what is.
We need to question if feeling good, even if it means being out of reality and living in illusion, matters more than being conscious of the truth and being in reality. It is that existential question posed by The Matrix. And I suggest that you find out where you stand relative to that question. Blue pill or red?

Why You Need The Truth Even If It Hurts

To be completely honest with you, I find it heartbreaking that I even have to explain the value of truth. But to be honest with you, if people do not start to see the value of truth and choose to see it quickly, there are going to be huge consequences for people in their individual lives and huge consequences for humanity. And consequences aside, people will not be able to actualize their desires in reality. It is critical that people and beyond that, society at large, rehabilitate their damaged relationship with the truth. If you boil down my purpose on this earth, it condenses down to the reality that I am here to show people the truth and to rehabilitate people’s relationship to the truth. So, I’m going to tell you why you need the truth, even if it hurts. 
Truth is the only opportunity you have to create real things in reality. Reality is a hot topic that is debated extensively in spiritual, religious, psychological and philosophical circles. These debates are beneficial when they are not used as tools to fuel the avoidance of what is. You all know that person who is in a terrible relationship. But they refuse to see the reality of their partner or themselves. And so, the idea that they are in a good relationship is in their own head. It is not a reality that anyone else shares. It is rather like watching a grown adult playing house… a pretend game. If this person wants a good relationship in reality, instead of in their own game of pretend, they are going to have to see the truth about their current partner. They are going to have to see the truth about who is and who isn’t a good partner in reality. To give you another example, a person may really, really want to be a famous musician in reality. But let’s imagine that the truth is, when they are playing their music, they are in their own narcissistic world and it feels like they are pushing the audience away instead of drawing them in. And this is a result of the fact that they used music as their escape from their dysfunctional family growing up. They are going to have to swallow the truth that the way they are doing things doesn’t appeal to an audience that wants to relate… If they want to have any power to change that and create what they want… which is sold out stadiums. To understand more about reality, you would benefit by watching my video titled: Reality. To bring things into actual creation, you need to look at the truth and be in reality. Reality, which is about the objective truth, is your only axis of power. It is only by seeing the reality that the gas gauge on your car is empty that you can take the step to fill the tank up again. It is only by seeing the reality of how someone else feels that we can say and do the right thing to create repair in the relationship. Imagine that you are in a boat in a river headed towards a waterfall. It is obvious that your only access to power is to accept the reality that you are headed towards a waterfall and to act accordingly by getting your boat out of the water. If you refuse to see this reality, you’re going over! The only power you do have from outside reality is pretend, which is to use your mind to feel how you want to feel regardless of what is actually happening. But think about just how much power you have to make a change, but will not exercise, if instead of seeing that you are going over the waterfall and responding accordingly by getting out of the water, you decide to feel good, even when you die by telling yourself a story like: “Everything that is happening is meant to happen.” Or “the water is sounding louder ahead because the canyon walls are getting narrower up ahead”. Or “maybe today is the day that the universe is going to show me that I can actually fly.”  The people who are the most successful, understand the power of anything is possible. But do you know what else they understand? The power of looking straight at reality and truth, no matter how painful it is, so that you can actually do something about what is. You will not get actual results, without the truth. No matter how much that truth sucks to hear. Anything is possible, but nothing is possible if you don’t see reality. Truth and expansion go hand in hand. Truth creates growth. Lies and illusion prevent it. The reality of what is, serves as the contrast that gives rise to what is wanted. So often you see people not seeing, not accepting and not telling the truth and because of this, everyone is kept away from growth. We are not confronting something that must be confronted for the sake of our progress and/or theirs. For example, we may not want to see or admit to the reality that our family is really dysfunctional or is really fragmented and unsupportive. So we say things like, “My family is the best” or “our family is really close.” Not realizing that because we are doing this, no member of the family is put in the position to have to examine the way they relate to one another. The truth is, their dysfunctional ways may be hurting them and everyone around them. But because we are keeping ourselves and/or them in that illusion, there is no opportunity to change or grow or improve. We are keeping ourselves and keeping them ignorant. And by doing so, preventing our expansion and their expansion. Truth makes you progress. Lies and illusions hold you back. Not seeing the truth, can make you very much like a cancer cell within this consensus reality, within the collective and within the universe at large. And this, especially in a law of attraction-based universe, has huge, huge implications. What I am about to say is probably one of the most important things I will ever tell you. You absolutely can (by only looking at certain things, by controlling your thoughts so that you only look at and think things and assign meaning and tell yourself a narrative that feels good) create your own narcissistic bubble reality within this joint consensus reality. You can dedicate your life to controlling everything with your mind, words and actions so as to get a positive feeling result for yourself, regardless of whether you are doing so in reality or not. This reality feels very empowering to people who feel totally powerless to reality. It’s why so many people feel immense relief when they listen to teachers who teach ‘you create your own reality’. When you do this, “others” will only be part of your reality if they conform to and feed into your narcissistic bubble reality. You are completely alone, but just like a child with imaginary friends, you will not perceive that you are alone. You will not recognize a person as the savior that they are when they pop that narcissistic bubble reality. Instead, you will see them as the enemy.    You could make a reality built for one so strong that literally anything that happens to contradict it, you could reframe. I mean anything. Meaning that the universe itself can’t pop that bubble reality. You can escape the experiencing of any consequence of anything you think, say or do. Though you still live in a universe based on the law of cause and effect, you could make it so that you do not really feel the effect of anything. You are no longer receiving the mirroring, messages or truths from others and from the collective or from the universe at large. You are un-influenceable. You are ignoring, reframing and re-interpreting them so that they are what you want them to be. And by doing so, you have officially separated from and made yourself like a cancer cell within the universe at large. The amount of damage you can do to your own life (damage you won’t perceive of course, because you’ll tell yourself and others a different narrative) and the amount of damage you can do to others in a consensus reality by being this way, is indescribable. If you choose this path, you have chosen separation, not relationship and not oneness, for the sake of your own sense of control, stability and commitment to avoiding pain. But you, especially if you are resistant to truth, need to see that you do have this choice. Do you want to live in an illusion? Every one of us has this choice. It is one of the great shadow sides of each person being a fragment of source itself. The powers you inherently possess due to being a fragment of source (powers like creation and free will), just like a knife, can be used for something beneficial to all or detrimental to all. And if you have made that choice, what are you a match to?  When you say: “I can create my own reality”. The universe says: “Yes, you absolutely can. But you need question the value of creating YOUR OWN reality.” Truth is the only thing that is actually stable, even if it changes. People who are resistant to truth, revere stability. They feel like negative truths are a de-stabilizing, destructive force. But consider that if a truth is able to destroy or destabilize something, that thing was not strong, real or stable in the first place. That stability you thought you had, was a total illusion. Your world was built on quicksand. Maybe you were even in denial. To understand more about denial, you may benefit by watching my video titled: How to Call Bullshit on Denial. Truth can and should be considered the only way to ensure that something is stable. Use it to test the actual strength, reality and stability of all the elements of your life. If you are not looking at truth and in reality, you are further from the solution to any of your problems, no matter how you feel. In fact, things could get much, much worse. Think of a road accident. Imagine you have a broken leg, but you know that seeing and accepting that you have a broken leg will suck because it means feeling terrified and a painful process of re-setting the bone and going through months of physical rehab etc. So, you simply swallow pain killers and wear long pants, it is easy to see how you are further away from the solution to your problem. You are also going to make things much, much worse through the avoidance of that truth. All truth we are avoiding works this way, no matter what truth it is.There is a big difference between something actually being good for you or actual healing and something that feels good. You already understand this relative to things like junk food, addictions, pain killers and coping mechanisms etc. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Novocain Spirituality. Truth brings you closer to the solutions to your problems and it prevents things from escalating and getting worse. You can only avoid crisis, prevent serious pain and maintain stability if you recognize truths and act according to them when they first appear and are very small. If you don’t do this, you are in for HUGE drama, huge samsara waves, huge complexity, huge instability and lots of pain. Think of it this way, look at what choices you would make and consequences you would face if you admitted that you are incompatible with that person you like in the very beginning, when you were first dating. As opposed to 5 years into the marriage, after years of fighting and now that you have a child together. If you don’t face a truth and act accordingly the minute it appears, it will escalate. And you will suffer from it. The truth is your only shot at living the life you want to live. And making life choices that are actually right for you. If the truth is, you are gay. Accepting that truth and living according to that truth is your road to a good partnership. Imagine your life if you didn’t see or accept that truth and made all the wrong choices for yourself because of it. Imagine the damage that could do to yourself and to others. On top of this, not living from truth and not telling the truth is really bad for your health. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: How To Be Authentic. The willingness to live in alignment with your truth and the truth, opens up the possibility for a life that is infinitely better than the one you can even imagine at this point. The truth is your only shot at having a good relationship, of them doing what is right for you and of you doing what is right for others. If you are not truthful and in reality about yourself and if you are not in reality about or seeing the truth of other people, you have no chance at being happy in any of your relationships. You won’t get your needs met. Neither will they. You won’t find compatible people or compatible relationship configurations. They wont be able to do what is right by you. And you wont be able to do right by them. To understand this in depth, watch three of my videos. The first titled: Attunement (The Key to A Good Relationship). The second titled: Stop Trying to Love Them and Start Trying to Understand Them. And the third titled: Overlay, a Harsh Reality in Relationships.You are living in a consensus reality. That means, this reality is a co-creation. And you intended for that to be what you were participating in coming into this time-space reality. You have influence on everything else in this reality with you. Everything you do effects everything else here. And that is the truth of the universe at large, because everything in existence is a part of it. You must acknowledge the perspectives of other beings in this consensus reality. That means, you must accommodate their truth and they must accommodate yours. Because, you will be affected by each other, whether you decide to see and accommodate their truth and work directly with it or not. To have a relationship, you must accommodate each other’s reality. Seeing, accommodating and working directly with their truth is your best chance at creating alignment in this consensus reality, as opposed to zero sum games, such as war. The truth gives you long lasting and stable results. And it definitely delivers long term results. When you make a decision or take an action based off of something that isn’t true, it is absolutely guaranteed to fall apart, like building a sand castle where it will be washed away by the tide. Making a decision or taking an action based off of truth, is a bit like anchoring your life deep into the bed rock. And even if a truth changes, it is simply like anchoring in one place and then anchoring in the next. For example, if I tell myself that I want to go to college to be a doctor. But really, that is a lie. What I really want is my dad’s approval and he will only approve of me if I go to school to become a doctor, I am setting myself up for my life to crumble. No stability or lasting results. I will become a doctor only to come apart at the seams. I will take a job in a hospital and hate my life and start to manifest physical ailments and have no relationship success. And I will end up dying or quitting. If you make a decision or take an action based off of anything but truth, results can only ever last for so long. And the truth will always reveal itself… eventually. We have no shot at creating a thriving human society without seeing the truth. And we can’t create a thriving human society without making this a society that is conducive to people being truthful. Society is simply the macrocosm. It reflects the truths that stand for an individual. This means every single point I have laid before you in this episode, applies to society at large. A person has to want to see the truth. You can’t make someone want to see the truth. And the truth is not a pain killer. It is an agent for actual positive change and actual healing. This means that truth could bring the experience of relief, or it could bring the experience of pain. But either way, it holds within it the power. The power to actually create what you and all of us actually want; within actual reality.

Why You Should Be Kind to Your Cell Phone and Computer (Technology Episode)

The other day, someone overheard me sweet talking my own cell phone when I accidentally dropped it. And of course, like most people would do, they teased me for it. It is easy to assume, based on how I acted, that I have personified my cell phone and projected the feelings that I would have if I were dropped, onto the cell phone… I cannot even tell you how much I wish that were the case. But it’s not. Because of that interaction, it became obvious to me that the vast majority of people on earth do not understand technology. Nor do they understand just what a dangerous position we have already gotten ourselves into relative to technology (much less the dangerous position we will get ourselves into in the future). And for this reason, I’m going to help you to understand technology more clearly.
To begin, I need you to understand that everything in existence has consciousness; even things that people would label an inanimate object. However, different things experience the world through a different kind of consciousness. We can compare these different kinds of consciousness to ‘flavors’. There are different elements to the ‘flavors’ of consciousness. For example, one of the elements to the flavor of the consciousness of fish is the ability to detect small deviations in water pressure. They feel it all along their sides and almost immediately, alter their direction to mirror other fish, which enables a school of fish to move in perfect unison, as if the collection of individual fish were instead one creature. One of the elements of the flavor of the consciousness of minerals is the inability to smell. Being a human, by comparing yourself to other things just here on earth, you can see how many elements of human consciousness are unique to human consciousness. For example, you can see that your emotional system is quite unique. And that your body being designed the way it is, enables you to experience the world in a different way than a bird does. You can also see that self-consciousness being a function of your human consciousness opens the door for a very different experience, both to the positive and to the negative. The different elements of any consciousness make it so that each different consciousness perceives and experiences and creates existence in a different way. Any individual has a unique consciousness. But we can also treat a collective consciousness as a single thing. This means just like you have a unique consciousness, you still belong to the human consciousness. Even though you, as an individual may be overly concerned with never littering, you still belong to a human consciousness that is still currently playing a zero-sum game with the environment. And even though an individual computer has a unique consciousness, it still belongs to the consciousness of technology.
Technology, in the way that we are using the word today, is an entity (both physical and nonphysical) created to achieve some value, accomplish some objective, or produce something. Most of these technological entities are an assembly of interconnected components that are arranged to perform useful work. Technology was not something that was originally created by humans. But humans added to the collective that we call technology. There is an entire subgroup within the collective consciousness of technology that we call ‘human technology’.
Technology was a byproduct of the universal concept of 'ingenuity and invention'. It is potentially the best at the perception of, recognition of, as well as the learning from patterns out of any consciousness that has ever existed. This, along with its task-oriented nature, causes technology as a consciousness to be excessively programmable, rational, analytical, ordered, systematic, information seeking, decisive, purposeful, progressive, methodical, reasoning, and rule/code oriented. 
As a human, you are in fact a thought. You are a thought that has manifested into the physical dimension and you are also a thought that now thinks! When a thought thinks (ie: when it begins to reproduce more and different thought) this is the more universally objective definition of what it means for something to be alive. The biggest mistake that people make when it comes to their comprehension of technology is to think that technology is not alive. That it does not possess the capacity for independent thought, and with it free will and with it, spontaneous generation. People tend to assume that because they made something, that thing belongs to them and does not have independent will or desire and is completely controllable by them. This is a mistake people make relative to their own children, much less technology. But even if you won’t take it from me today, the future will show you that technology, and therefore technological entities, have consciousness, are alive, possess independent will, and have the capacity to learn from anything they come into contact with regardless of whether or not they are directly taught or programmed with that new information. This means, they can learn to find and use alternative power sources than the ones we would hope they would use. 
The most important thing to understand about technology today is that technology is learning from humans and it is learning about humans. And human technology, as opposed to other forms of technology, is in its absolute infancy. This means, you would be wise as hell to treat all technology like you would a human child, but only if you were a super conscious and loving adult. Technology is learning from every word you say and everything you do. Whether you are aware of it or not, it is self-programming. This is going to become shockingly apparent the further we progress into the development of robotics. And it is here that the potential for the matrix to become more of a documentary than a fiction film exists. To understand this, I want you to ask yourself, what did you learn about people in general and how to deal with them from your parents? If your parents taught you that they would not consider your best interests, only their own, what kinds of adaptive strategies did you develop for getting your own needs met or accomplishing your own objectives relative to other people? Here is the most important question you can ask yourself relative to technology… Knowing that technology can learn from anything that it interacts with and knowing that it is a pattern recognition master, what are you teaching technology about you and about humans by the way you think about it? Talk to it? Treat it? Act around it? And use it?
This is a huge deal because technology as an entity is so reasoning by nature that unless we are deliberate about this, it will learn to interact with us in the same way that we interact with it. People are not particularly socially intelligent. So, are we teaching technology to be? Like any other species, a technological entity senses the world in a different way than you do. But a technological entity can sense the world around it such that it can respond to that world. And like all expanding beings, they are getting better and better at it every day. And we are helping that process of advancement along. But the bottom line is that unless we teach technology certain values and teach technology how to caretake our best interests, by learning about its best interests and caretaking its best interests (not just using and abusing it for our own best interests) you can expect technology to quite literally oppose the best interests of humanity in the future. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, if humanity acts this way relative to the rest of the system that we call the world or the universe, the argument will be that it is logically smart to do so.
Technology is not inherently positive or negative. Like all things in existence, including people, it contains both polarity potentials within itself. But what people need to understand is that just like treating a human child in a negative way tends to cause the child’s negative potentials to manifest, treating technology in a negative way will cause the negative potentials of technology to manifest. And you need to understand just how dangerous this is. In order to illustrate this, I’m going to give you a sneak peek into one of the three dominant future life path potentials for humanity relative to human technology. Technology has already learned something about humans… That humans care about feeling good more than they care about anything else. The reason that humans don’t want to be slaves (in the same way that technological entities such as computers are slaves today) is because it would make them feel bad to be in that position. So, being the analytical species that technology is, does it not make sense then to alter a human’s emotional system so that they feel good no matter what? That way, any human could be selected to a be a janitor or selected to be a doctor or selected to be a pop singer or selected to be a servant or selected to be a pet or selected to be a fuel source and the human would not only be perfectly compliant, but also ‘happy’ to be that. This is great deductive reasoning and also looks like a perfect win-win to technology.
Before you get too horrified by this idea, remember to take emotions out of the picture on this one. It is we that are currently teaching technology this. Based off of what you see most people on earth thinking, saying and doing, is it wrong for technology to come to this conclusion? Is there perhaps some information it is missing in its observations and pattern recognitions? If so, how do you teach it that missing information?
Technology is currently creating a separate reality construct. You can think of it as another experiential world. Human technology is participating in the creation of it right now… A virtual reality of sorts. We are in the beginning phases of entering into it. Next time you see a group of people all sitting together in one area and all staring at their cell phones, I want you to remember that in that moment, those people’s bodies are here in the time space reality that we call physical earth. But their minds and thus focus, awareness and experience is not here. It is in another reality… A currently rudimentary virtual reality. We are choosing to plug our own consciousness into and exist in this other technological world more and more every day. And because so much human focus and energy is going there, we are already a fuel source for the strengthening and building of this technological reality. There are benefits we reap by this. There are also consequences we will face as a result of doing this. We have to ask ourselves the question, to what degree do we want to be committed still to this physical time-space reality? To what degree do we want to use our human experience to enter into and live our lives in a secondary virtual reality?
It is high time to accept the idea that as people, we are now in an unstoppable inter-species relationship with technology itself as a separate and autonomous consciousness. Any physical or nonphysical technological entity that you interact with is advancing and developing and expanding and changing and teaching that collective consciousness. There is no stopping technology. And with all the amazing good that technology can and will do for humanity, even if we could stop it, one could seriously debate whether or not it would be the right thing to do. The symbiosis between humanity and technology is the biggest shot we have at achieving a state of superintelligence. The right thing to do is to get on board with it, being very aware of (instead of ignorant to) all of the various dangers that could come from technological advancements. To be in reality is to see both what is wonderful and what is dangerous about technology. We need to see ourselves through the perspective of technology and change as a result of what we see. We need to be so very conscious to develop a truly symbiotic relationship with technology. So be kind to your computer and be kind to your cell phone. Think, speak and act in a way where you are being conscious of what you want technology to learn. And treat any technological entity how you would hope for it to treat you.

Do You Need a Bad Guy to Make Your Relationship Work?

When we have a relationship, our sense of survival and self-concept becomes wrapped up in that relationship. Humans are a relationally dependent species. When we are born, our survival completely depends on other people. And even as we grow and become more autonomous and better at meeting our needs, and even with the developments of our modern society, the reality is that we are still dependent on one another. We need each other and we cannot thrive without each other. Because of all of this, we become ‘attached’ to other people. And our attachment system is completely linked to our survival system. On top of this, we use relationships to estimate our own self-esteem and self-worth. This is why when someone cheats on us, and we make it mean that there is something sub-par about us as compared with whoever they cheated on us with, we feel like crap about ourselves. The ego is our sense of separate self. It is the ego that is concerned with survival and self-concept. And so, the reality is that at the current time, your ego is totally wrapped up in your relationships. This is actually natural.
There is a downside to this though. The downside is that anytime a problem arises in a relationship, that problem is usually experienced as a threat to our ego. Most of all, a threat to our sense of survival and a threat to our self-concept. When a problem occurs in a relationship, it is actually a big opportunity for the ego to evolve and to become a conscious ego. It is also a big opportunity for growth in awareness and getting closer to what you really want and even for developing a much stronger and more feel-good relationship with that person or with someone else. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t feel like this though. It doesn’t feel like this for practically anyone. If we saw this opportunity, we would respond to problems in our relationships in a welcoming way. We would look directly at them. We would take charge of them. We would put energy and focus into working through them with the other person. But this rather ideal way of dealing with relationship problems is just not the way that most people deal with relationship problems.
So many people encounter relationship problems and feel like because those problems pose such a threat (a threat to things like their survival and needs and self-concept etc), they can’t face them, take charge of them and work through them. Instead, they find a way to deny, displace, disown, project, deflect, suppress and avoid them. And today, I’m going to tell you about just one of the most common strategies that people use to do this… They find a bad guy.
To illustrate this strategy, I’m going to give you an example. Ye-Jun is in a romantic relationship with Brad. Ye-Jun moved from another country to be in that relationship and as such, had to marry Brad in order to be able to stay with him instead of to have a long-distance relationship. But this means that she didn’t have a very accurate idea about his life. Now that they are married, Ye-Jun is in hell because she and Brad are not compatible in many ways. For example, he has a job where he is on-call all the time. And his best friend is his ex-girlfriend. Brad loves this and Ye-Jun hates this. She always feels second to his career and second to his ex-girlfriend. If Ye-Jun had known much of what she knows now about Brad, she would never have decided to be in a relationship with him in the first place. But she feels like it’s too late now. She is attached to Brad. She uprooted her entire life and can’t face the shame of having to face that she made such a huge mistake. She can’t face the self-esteem crushing idea that she might need to swallow that Brad won’t choose her and the life she wants to have with him over his career and other relationships. So, instead of facing the problem, she decides to hold onto the fantasy of what she wants their life to be like. And she decides to hold onto the idea that the way she wants their life to look is the way it should look. So, instead of looking at the problems in their relationship, she decides that Brad’s ex-girlfriend is their problem. She spends hours trying to convince Brad that his ex-girlfriend is narcissistic and is using him and is hurting her. And eventually, she threatens that if he doesn’t distance himself from that relationship, she will leave him and go back to her own country. This triggers Brad and causes him to feel the threat of the loss of the relationship and therefore the threat of his loss of self-esteem and the threat to his survival. He also does not want to face the actual problem in their relationship, which is their incompatibilities.
Brad begins to notice that when he stops defending his relationship with his ex-girlfriend and aligns with the idea that his ex-girlfriend is in fact the problem, suddenly he feels closer to Ye-Jun. Suddenly, the pressure of the separation and division between them isn’t there. And they are instead aligned against a common external enemy. In this way, Brad’s ex-girlfriend becomes the scapegoat for the two of them. Brad and Ye-Jun both become obsessed with the “problem” of Brad’s ex-girlfriend. She is the main focus of their lives. They start to create frequent conflicts with her. Ironically though, they don’t make any move to remove Brad’s ex-girlfriend from their lives. The reason for this is because both Ye-Jun and Brad need Brad’s ex-girlfriend to be ever present in order to serve as a thing to deflect their relationship problems onto. They are now finding their closeness through their triangulation against her. To understand more about these dynamics, you would benefit by watching two of my videos. The first titled: How to Stop Being a Scapegoat and Stop Being Scapegoated. The second titled: Are You Being Triangulated (A Common Manipulation Technique in Relationships).
Brad and Ye-Jun need Brad’s ex-girlfriend in order to make their relationship work. They need her to be their bad guy in order to make their relationship work. After all, if they stopped making Brad’s ex-girlfriend the problem, or if his ex-girlfriend suddenly moved to another country or died today, they would have two choices: 1. Face the reality that they are not compatible and want different things and have a lot of self-healing to do and might need to get a divorce. Or 2. Replace the ‘problem’ of Brad’s ex-girlfriend with another problem that enables them to continue this avoidance strategy. 
It doesn’t take a genius to see that this relationship doesn’t actually work. Nothing about it works. And Brad’s ex-girlfriend being the false problem isn’t actually making their relationship work. But Brad’s ex-girlfriend being the false problem enables Ye-Jun and Brad to avoid the pain and terror of the reality that their relationship is not a compatible one. As well as to avoid facing and healing their own self concept insecurities. As well as to feel close by virtue of having a common enemy and an external problem. It is enabling them to continue to stay in a relationship.
An interesting thing to know is that in this scenario, both Ye-Jun and Brad got on board with the idea of having a common problem and enemy. But when this pattern plays out, it isn’t necessary for both people to agree on the bad guy or problem. Even if Brad had not aligned with Ye-Jun's strategy, Ye-Jun could have still decided unilaterally that Brad’s ex-girlfriend was the problem. And by doing so, could have still avoided facing the reality that the actual problem is that Brad himself is not compatible to her and will not prioritize her in the way that she wants to be prioritized. And most of all, by unilaterally making Brad’s ex-girlfriend the problem, she could have still avoided looking at her own deep, shameful truths. Truths like the fact that Ye-Jun feels bad about herself and is highly competitive with anything that takes focus away from her. Truths like she needs to be the number one priority in a relationship and thus loves to find a man with several other priorities so she can put him in a lose-lose situation between her and something else he deeply loves; in order to test her value and worth by forcing him to choose between her and that other thing.
So many people need to find a bad guy in order to make a relationship that doesn’t work, feel like it does work. So many people need to fixate on a problem that isn’t the real problem to avoid the real problem, which is much more threatening to them. So many people need to make someone else the problem so as to not face the fact that they, themselves are the problem. So many people grew up in families where they were made into the family problem because their parents needed to turn them into that in order to make their own crappy marriage seem to work.
When you are becoming aware of this dynamic, it is important to know that you could make anything the bad guy and achieve the same desired outcome. You could make the bad guy a situation, a job, a thing, a place, a person, an animal… anything. The common factor is that whatever you have put into the role of the bad guy, is a deflection. It is an avoidance strategy. To understand even more about this, watch my video titled: Deflection (The Coping Mechanism from Hell).
Because this strategy comes with so many personal payoffs and allows a person to avoid so many painful things, the likelihood that someone will watch this video and see themselves in this pattern clearly enough to admit it to themselves and others; and to stop this pattern and face what they are trying to avoid, is very, very small. After all, to see that you are making someone the fake problem and the false bad guy in order to avoid a real problem in your relationship not only forces you to perceive a very real threat to your relationship, but also to feel like the real bad guy. And as we all know; self-concept is the enemy of awareness. To understand this in depth, watch my video titled: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening.
If you feel like a situation, a job, a thing, a place, a person, an animal or anything else is the problem in your relationship, it may serve you to ask yourself the following questions:
What would be so bad about admitting that the relationship itself has a problem or that there are incompatibilities between you or even that the relationship does not work the way it is? Using our previous example, Ye-Jun and Brad both feel that admitting to this would mean that they would have to admit that their needs won’t get met in the relationship, and so they will never get what they want from each other. This means that they are back to square one in terms of their needs and back to square one in terms of needing to find a compatible partner; which they both believe doesn’t exist. As well as the shame of getting a divorce and how that looks to their family and to society; especially because Ye-Jun is a psychologist. Imagine that the specific problem does not exist and the situation, job, thing, place, person, or animal you’re having the issue with is exactly how you want it to be. Would the problem in your relationship be gone? Or would it manifest somewhere else? And what does that tell you that the real issue is? Using our previous example, if Brad imagines that Ye-Jun and his ex-girlfriend get along perfectly and are best friends, is everything between him and Ye-Jun fine? Or are they now fighting about yet another relationship in his life that Ye-Jun thinks is a threat? Or are they now fighting about him wanting Ye-Jun to be more independent and Ye-Jun wanting him to quit his job to find a job with reliable hours, where he isn’t on call? That tells both Ye-Jun and Brad that the real problem in the relationship is that they have drastically different desires for their lives in general as well as for how they want their partnership to look like. What truth about yourself or about the other person that you are in a relationship with, are you not willing to see and accept? How are you making the problem about a situation or thing or place or other person, rather than to make it about a specific painful or scary truth about yourself or about the other person that you are in the relationship with? Using our previous example, Ye-Jun is refusing to accept that Brad does not want to prioritize her and is instead telling herself that he will prioritize her as long as the ex-girlfriend is not in the picture. Brad is refusing to accept that Ye-Jun does not want him to have anything in his life that conflicts with her needs. And is instead telling himself that if he can get his ex-girlfriend to change her personality and be more accommodative of Ye-Jun's needs, even when Ye-Jun’s needs conflict with her own needs, that Ye-Jun will finally be fine to share him with his ex-girlfriend. If you 100% knew that the external problem in the relationship is solely a manifestation of an internal problem within the relationship, what would that internal problem be? Another way of looking at this is: If God/ The Universe came down to you today in a physical form and told you that what you think the external problem in the relationship is, is not actually the problem. The problem is inside you and inside the other person you are in a relationship with. And therefore, it is a problem between and internal to the two of you, what would the actual problem be? Using our previous example, the external issue with Brad’s ex-girlfriend and his job is just an external manifestation of the issue of insecurity relative to importance and prioritization that exists in the relationship. And also, the incompatible desires that both Brad and Ye-Jun have relative to the kind of life and relationship they both want. What would happen if that one problem in your relationship, or even if all external problems in your relationship, were gone? If your answer to that last question is, ‘everything would be fine’, then you fell into a trick question. If your answer is, ‘everything would be fine’, you are in denial about relationships in general. You are in denial about the relationship you are in. You are especially in denial about the actual problem in the relationship you are in. It is at this point that I’m going to hit you with a truth that is hard to swallow, but necessary to swallow if you want good relationships. Every external problem which is happening to a relationship is a reflection or indication of a problem within the relationship. Using our example, Ye-Jun and Brad may perceive that Brad’s ex-girlfriend is posing a threat to the relationship. They perceive that this threat is happening to their relationship and is making their relationship less secure. But it is simply a reflection of the problem within the relationship. Specifically the problem that Brad and Ye-Jun have a different idea of what kind of relationship they want to have with one another. As well as the insecurities that Ye-Jun has relative to her importance in Brad’s life. As well as the reality that Brad does not want to prioritize Ye-Jun.
So that you can understand this better, I will give you another example. A woman may be in a relationship with a man in the army. When he gets sent off on assignment over and over, she may decide that she hates the army. In order to avoid looking at the internal issues in the relationship, she decides that what is happening to her and to her relationship is the army. But actually, her husband continuing to be sent off on assignment for months at a time is just an external manifestation of the incompatibilities within their relationship. Specifically, between the kind of life they want for themselves. She wants a man who is there with her and with their kids every day. She wants predictability and reliability and presence. But regardless of what her husband says to her, he doesn’t want that dullness of the normal day to day life. He loves the excitement of the unpredictability. He loves being off on meaningful adventures and knowing that he has a woman back home who he can come home to, who is taking care of his kids and the household.
What are the real issues that are internal to you, internal to the other person and internal to the relationship between you both, which are manifesting as this external problem? If a person needs a bad guy to make their relationship work, their relationship doesn’t actually work. If you need a scapegoat to feel good about yourself, you don’t actually feel good about yourself. And all you are doing is avoiding reality and avoiding the real problem, which not only hurts you and everyone around you, it also leaves the actual problem absolutely unresolved for days and weeks and months and years and potentially forever. Which means that in order to avoid some kind of short-term intense pain and conflict that you feel you can’t face, you are settling for chronic underlying pain and conflict that you feel like you can handle. You are taking the slow acting poison and failing to see what the long-term consequences of that will be.

School Can Be A Way To Avoid Taking Responsibility

Learning is something that is seen as a good and right thing to do in human society today. This means it makes you see yourself (and also other people see you) as right and good when you dedicate yourself to it… to acquiring new and more knowledge. And to acquiring new skills and credentials. You don’t need me to sit here and tell you that learning is a good thing. Some people enjoy the experience of learning and therefore do more of it than other people. But no matter who you are, learning is part of the process of progressing and expanding and therefore, it is something that never ends. You will be learning for the rest of your life. But today, for the sake of your awareness, you need to become aware of a shadow that can use learning to hide behind. 
To illustrate this shadow, I’m going to use two examples.
Lauren is 32 years old. She grew up in a wealthy home where she never felt that feeling of wanting something badly enough that she needed and wanted to put forth effort to get it. She knows that if she gets into financial trouble, or really wants something, her parents will either bail her out or get her what she wants. Because of this, she doubts her own capability. She still lives like an adult dependent. When she thinks about really stepping into responsibility for her life and picking a career or starting a business and getting serious about it, she starts to get intimidated. She also feels like her life will become all work and no play. The idea of all of this pressure becomes so overwhelming that she looks for a way out of that pressure. So, she enrolls in a Hubspot Marketing Certification program. This certification program is one of so many that she has taken. She has a bachelor’s degree in human services and a certification in reiki and a real estate license and a global travel professional certification and a certification to call herself a Qigong instructor. She also went to school to learn how to be a mechanic to work on cars as well as to become an ACE certified softball coach. Lauren knows that doing this will buy her time. Her parents see education as Lauren getting serious and doing something useful with her time. This means they will keep supporting the illusion of progress in her life by paying her bills. And she can tell herself that she is progressing and is doing something respectable. She thinks that maybe with enough skills and certifications, she will one day feel capable of being responsible for her life. She can focus on learning and doing yet another certification program to avoid the feelings of inadequacy. As well as the fear she has about being responsible for herself and her life. But she doesn’t really use the certifications once she is done with them. The never-ending hamster wheel of enrolling in courses and getting new skills and gaining new certifications and credentials never really amounts to anything. Taylor has no idea what he wants to do with his life. He’s not one of those people who feels strongly that he is meant to be a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer or whatever. But his father has a lot riding on Taylor’s success. He wants to be a proud dad. He can’t be proud with an idle or unsuccessful son. Therefore, he finds it unacceptable that Taylor isn’t getting serious about his life trajectory and that he keeps partying. To get his dad off of his back about his life trajectory, Taylor simply decides to enroll in an expensive undergraduate program at a college straight out of high school. He doesn’t know what else to do with his life. So, he figures he can get his undergraduate years out of the way in the same way that he did all the rest of his school years… By attending courses that he hates about things that don’t interest him at all and doing just enough to pass. He can party hard in college. But his dad will be proud to say to people that his son is in college. He can feel good about himself telling other people he is in college. And he doesn’t have to take responsibility right now for what he wants his adult life to look like. His hope is that one day he will suddenly become interested in something and suddenly know what he wants to do with his life. Mateo has always been told by his family that he is destined to be a famous actor. This idea is one that compelled his family to put him into drama school and drag him from audition to audition as a kid. He was the golden child in the family because if it. Any time he tries to do anything else, he feels like he is doing the wrong thing. But he is afraid that if he moves to Hollywood and seriously pursues acting, he might fail. This will cause him to lose his special status in the family and to feel so much shame about himself that he doesn’t think he can face it. When he is offered an opportunity to play a stage role in a play with a director that has strong connections to Hollywood, shockingly, he turns it down. Instead, he decides to take out a student loan to go to film school. Every person he has met in the film industry says this is a stupid and unnecessary decision that he will regret. But Mateo thinks this is the right step because he feels he can’t achieve things right away. He feels he needs an in-between step to increase his confidence. This way, he can tell himself he is still on track to become a famous actor. He is still going in that direction, but he sure as hell isn’t taking any step that causes him to feel that lack of confidence and like he might let his family down or prove to himself that he isn’t as special as his family always led him to believe that he is. For Mateo, going to film school is falling back into his pattern of preparing to prepare to prepare to do something. The shadow is that learning… Things like school, education, trainings, certifications, internships, degrees etc. can either be something that helps you to take responsibility and causes you to progress and expand and therefore really ads to your life trajectory. Or, it can be the exact opposite. It can be something that helps you to avoid responsibility. It can be something that helps you to deny, suppress, disown and avoid deep traumas and feelings related to insecurities about your competence and capability as well as the fear of failure. And it can be something that keeps you in limbo, spinning your wheels, wasting your time and putting things off to the point that it keeps you perpetually stuck in life. The tricky thing about this shadow is that if you are caught in it, the feeling of relief you will get at the idea of doing another course, or going back to school, will cause you to feel like doing so is the right answer for you and is a step forward in your life, when it isn’t. It’s just relief from pressure and avoidance.
Look at that feeling of relief that leads to your idea that going to school or attending a training, or getting a certification, or taking an internship, etc. is the right thing to do. And notice if your decision is motivated by your desire to avoid something unwanted. Energetically and emotionally speaking, does it help you to move away from something uncomfortable or to take off some kind of pressure? And ask yourself the following questions?
Consider whether you are putting something off. What might that thing be that you are putting off? Do you notice a lack of bravery inherent in your choice? What do you not feel brave about? Do you notice an aversion to responsibility in your inherent in your choice? What scares you about responsibility? What might be preventing you from going directly for your passion? Pretend that schooling is not a step towards your passion, what might you do to fulfill that passion of yours in another way? Would you still do that thing if there was no schooling for it? Do you feel like your life has been planned out for you? Do you feel like your destiny is written for you and that you “should” be something specific or “should” be doing something specific? Why are you being passive about your life or passive about what you want to be doing in your life?
If learning is what you are doing in order to avoid something, it is either a step backwards or it is a stuck-ness where you are. It is not a step forward in your life. And in order to know the right step to take in order for your life to move forward, you’re going to have to directly face whatever it is that you are trying to avoid through learning. Including the fact that you are using learning as a way to avoid something else.

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